(Audacy) For the second offseason in a row, the Atlanta Braves lost a franchise fixture.
One offseason after star first baseman Freddie Freeman departed for the Dodgers in conjunction with the Braves' trade for first baseman Matt Olson, shortstop Dansby Swanson left Atlanta to join the Chicago Cubs in December.
A Kennesaw, Ga. native, Swanson signed with the Cubs on a seven-year, $177-million deal after manning shortstop for the Braves since late 2016. He really blossomed in 2022, reaching his first All-Star Game and winning a Gold Glove. He seems to be hitting his prime, and he'll spend his top years in Wrigleyville.
Swanson will always have a fan in Braves manager Brian Snitker, as he told The Midday Show on 92.9 The Game.
“It’s always tough," Snitker said. "When you lose Freddie Freeman, it’s hard to replace Freddie Freeman. We probably did as great of a job as you could with Matt Olson, I mean my god we love Matt. He had a great year. With Dansby, he’s right there too. He’s been a staple on this club for a long time – it’s part of the business, and it is. It’s a business, I wish him well, I’m a huge Dansby Swanson fan and will always pull for that kid.”
While the Braves had a Freeman replacement lined up before he even left, the vacancy at shortstop should play out a little differently.
The 22-year-old Vaughn Grissom is the frontrunner for the gig. He played 41 big league games last season almost entirely at second base but came up through the minors mostly playing shortstop.
Snitker indicated that there are candidates for the role beyond Grissom.
“When things like (Swanson leaving) happen, it gives somebody else an opportunity to come in and do something really good," Snitker said. "Vaughn has been working really hard this offseason, I know Orlando Arcia is playing winter ball. Braden Shewmake is a kid that has been around in our minor leagues for a number of years now.
“So, I think it’s going to be a fun competition. We’ll see what happens, that’s why we’re going to go down there and play 30-something games. We’ll find out.”
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