A week after losing shortstop Dansby Swanson to free agency, Atlanta Braves general manager Alex Anthopoulos revealed to The Athletic’s Jeff Schultz that the All-Star “tried everything” to stay.
“Dansby made every effort to find a way to stay in Atlanta,” Anthopoulos said. “We had conversations in the summer. He was willing to take a lot less than what he got.”
Elaborating on why the Braves and Swanson couldn’t reach an agreement, Anthopoulos said that while both sides negotiated in good faith, ultimately, the “gap was too great” between how high the team was willing to go and the Cubs’ lucrative offer.
Swanson eventually inked a seven-year, $177 million contract with Chicago, which includes a full no-trade clause.
Following Freddie Freeman’s exit last offseason, the Braves have lost two key players from the 2021 World Series team in back-to-back offseasons after watching Swanson walk. While on the surface, the Braves are beginning to gain a reputation for letting beloved stars leave once they become too expensive, Anthopoulos explained that these “tough calls” are part of the team’s big-picture approach.
“The greatest challenge we have is, rather than have a certain time window of winning, we’re attempting to be competitive every year,” Anthopoulos said. “It’s hard because if your young players have success, they will get more expensive, and they’ll be harder to retain.”
The idea that the Braves were unwilling to come close to matching the Cubs’ massive deal jives with reports from earlier in the offseason that Swanson had “priced himself out” of Atlanta. Swanson also helped himself, posting an All-Star campaign in a contract year before hitting an open market featuring several teams searching for a high-caliber shortstop.
Money wasn’t the only factor in Swanson’s decision to join the “North Siders.” During his introductory press conference this week, Swanson shared an emotional story about his late grandfather, a fan of the Cubs, who helped his love of baseball grow.