Big 4 SS for the Miami Marlins: Dansby Swanson
By Neil Raymond
This is part three in a new series about the top four free agent shortstops available in free agency this off-season. Will the Miami Marlins sign any? Most likely not, though Bruce Sherman promised to spend and should. We need to upgrade our historically bad offense and SS is a major area for us to upgrade. Miguel Rojas is a great defender, but is not that good offensively. He’s also not the middle of the order bat that we need. Let’s now look at Dansby Swanson…
Is Dansby Swanson a target for the Miami Marlins?
Swanson had a big year. He batted .277/.329/.447 with 25 home runs and 96 RBI. He was also worth 5.7 WAR. It was an impressive season and he’s definitely looking at a big contract this off-season. Is there any reason to think that he wouldn’t be worth the money?
I strongly suspect that Dansby Swanson is a “contract year player” (overachieves prior to hitting free agency and then goes back to his old self once paid). He has a career .255/.321/.417 batting line and had a .348 BABIP this season (.313 career). This makes me convinced that his production will likely decline next season. Swanson’s career batting line makes him look more as an “above average” rather than “good” player, and calls in question the contract that he’ll likely command. He also disappeared during the playoffs, hitting .125/.175/.188 in four games.
What kind of contract can Dansby Swanson command? He is still only 28 years old, so 7-8 years is very realistic. He will likely want at least $25 million a year, which adds up to a pretty hefty $175-200 million deal. It’s also possible that he’ll get closer to $30 million a year.
Is Dansby Swanson worth the above contract? No. Every other “big 4” free agent SS is more likely to keep producing the way they did this season. Swanson is by far the likeliest to significantly redress next season and then going forward. I just don’t see him as a good investment at all.
Should the Miami Marlins sign Dansby Swanson? I don’t think so and don’t see it happening anyway. Sometimes it pays to be cheap and this is one of those cases.