Last week, not too long before the Chicago Cubs landed Dansby Swanson on a seven-year contract, the Los Angeles Dodgers were still being mentioned as a destination for the star shortstop, even though the possibility remained rather unlikely.
But why was it unlikely? Did Swanson have precious little interest in LA? Were the Dodgers really not going to spend outside of their budget at all, even if the price came down? Are they truly confident in Gavin Lux to hold down shortstop for 2023 and potentially beyond?
The answers remain unclear, but, from a financial standpoint, it's worth wondering why the Dodgers weren't in on Swanson after knowing the price. He signed a seven-year, $177 million contract with the Cubs, which comes out to ~$25 million per year.
Comparing that to a number of other mega shortstop contracts over the last two offseasons, Chicago seemed to have gotten arguably the best deal, given Swanson's age, stellar defense, playoff experience, and emergence on offense.
If the Dodgers were continually being listed as a possible suitor, then how did they pass up this price tag? Were they aiming even lower? Or were they never interested at all?
Why didn't the Dodgers consider Dansby Swanson at $177 million over seven years?
Here are the rest of the shortstop contracts that were doled out, dating back to last November:
Corey Seager: 10 years, $325 million
Marcus Semien: 7 years, $175 million
Trevor Story: 6 years, $140 million
Javier Báez: 6 years, $140 million
Carlos Correa: 13 years, $350 million
Trea Turner: 11 years, $300 million
Xander Bogaerts: 11 years, $280 million
Swanson is making Semien's money, essentially, and he cost half the price of Correa, as well as $100 million less than Seager, Turner and Bogaerts. He's only making $37 million more than Story and Báez, who legitimately may no longer be good. Only Correa and Seager were younger than Swanson, and the former Brave still only got seven years!
Shouldn't this have been the exact price point for the Dodgers, if they were interested in upgrading at shortstop and addressing other areas of the roster via trade? In one of the most bullish free agent markets of all time, it felt almost impossible to do better than this for a talent of Swanson's caliber, regardless of how some fans felt about his offensive output from 2017-2019.
Out of the other players mentioned, his defense is probably second to only Correa at this point (16 Defensive Runs Saved and 34 Outs Above Average since 2016). In terms of availability, he's been the most durable option the last three seasons, having sat out just two games since the start of 2020. Offensively, his 62 home runs and 219 RBI over that same time period best Turner, Correa, Bogaerts, Story, Báez and Seager (in RBI, not HR). Only Semien got him in both categories.
After realizing all that, some clarity about the Dodgers' involvement sure would be nice.