Drew Smyly Says the Cubs Got the Best Free Agent Shortstop in the Class

Chicago Cubs proprietor Tom Ricketts shared at the Cubs Convention that, when he was instructed a few of what the entrance workplace was fascinated about the free agent shortstop class, the Cubs felt Dansby Swanson was one in every of the 4 probably to stay at shortstop the longest . It wasn’t a shocking reveal, as I believe many exterior observers would have come to the identical conclusion (even earlier than Carlos Correa’s ankle subject got here to gentle). But it does converse to a part of the Cubs’ curiosity, along with the hoped-for energy and prompt management.

I had that stuff on the mind just lately. The concept that, whereas Swanson might not have been the Cubs’ best choice in the shortstop class *if all of them had been and got here at the very same worth*, there have been facets of his sport the place the Cubs noticed him as the better of the 4.

I believe a part of the purpose I had it on the mind was due to one thing The Athletic wrote about Drew Smyly, the Cubs’ lefty who had expertise taking part in with Swanson in Atlanta in 2021.

For Smyly, Swanson was the high total alternative.

“He actually, actually desires to win and assist the guys round him as a result of he would not have an enormous ego in any respect,” Smyly instructed The Athletic. “I used to be saying that final 12 months, ‘If the Cubs try to get a shortstop, we received to go get Dansby. That’s the man I’d get.’ He’s only a winner. He makes individuals higher. He’s very constructive. Especially with a few of our youthful gamers, they will see how he goes about his enterprise and take to that….

“You simply have talks, particularly at the finish of the 12 months, like, ‘OK, what are the Cubs going to do?'” Smyly mentioned. “It was fairly apparent that they needed to get a kind of massive shortstops. I used to be like, ‘I’d rank Dansby at the high of that record.’ It’s simply from being round him, and his protection is so good. He’s only a gamer, like Nico’s a gamer, too. It’s going to be enjoyable watching them play collectively.”

That’s good to listen to, even when “good” is so far as you’ll be able to take it.

To make sure, a pitcher who’s a former teammate of Swanson’s, and who stands to profit from his protection, may need an idiosyncratic purpose to need him most of all amongst the 4 shortstops. I do not know that your takeaway from Smyly’s quote ought to essentially be additional proof that Swanson *IS* the better of the 4. We have a whole lot of methods of evaluating the gamers, and positively the market wouldn’t agree.

Instead, I believe the takeaway right here is {that a} man who has performed with Swanson didn’t come away considering he would favor another man. As in, Swanson did not give Smyly any causes not to like him as a shortstop and as a teammate. They performed collectively, and Smyly was apparently satisfied about simply how priceless Swanson is. If there was some under-the-hood, behind-the-scenes purpose for a pitcher to kinda hate pitching in entrance of Swanson, I’m considering he would not be so effusive in his reward. He may simply not say something in any respect.

Circling again, I do not anticipate that the Cubs would have pegged Swanson as the better of the 4 shortstops in free company, if they might’ve had their decide of the litter at the identical price ticket. Maybe they might’ve taken any of the different three earlier than Swanson. We may by no means know. But I do imagine they actually do assume his management qualities are uniquely priceless, they usually do imagine he was the greatest long-term shortstop defender amongst the group. Smyly’s feedback solely reinforce that concept.

From there, what’s going to elevate Dansby Swanson’s signing into a very completely different tier of “nice transfer” is that if he retains hitting like he did final 12 months. The different stuff actually does matter and is essential and all that, however let’s not conceal the ball. If Swanson ALSO is an above-average bat for many of the subsequent seven years? We the followers, and his pitchers, will deeply respect that, too.

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