Yankees could target under-the-radar shortstop in free agency

dansby swanson, yankees
Oct 11, 2022; Atlanta, Georgia, USA; Atlanta Braves shortstop Dansby Swanson (7) singles against the Philadelphia Phillies in the ninth inning during game one of the NLDS for the 2022 MLB Playoffs at Truist Park. Mandatory Credit: Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Yankees have been connected to a myriad of different free agents this off-season. Slugger Aaron Judge remains their top priority, but having alternatives on deck is only reasonable given Judge is currently out west meeting with the San Francisco Giants and Los Angeles Dodgers.

General manager Brian Cashman has been connected to the top short-stop market, notably Trea Turner, Xander Bogaerts, and Carlos Correa. However, there is still a low-key option the Yankees may consider to considerably boost the team’s defensive quality.

The Yankees could go after Dansby Swanson:

Atlanta Braves shortstop Dansby Swanson could be a much better fit at a much cheaper price point. The 28-year-old is coming off a solid season with the Braves, hitting .277 with a 32.9% on-base rate, 25 homers, and 96 RBIs. In fact, this is the second consecutive season Dansby hit at least 25 homers with a career-high 18 stolen bases.

He did record a 26.1% strike-out rate and 7% walk rate, but he provides elite-level defense, great contact-hitting capabilities with underrated power. He’s not the most efficient at getting on base, but he can provide power to left field as a righty.

Defensively, Dansby recorded a .986 fielding percentage over 1,433 innings, accruing just eight errors. In fact, he earned 9 defensive runs saved above average and 20 outs above average. With that type of defensive quality at a vulnerable position for the Yankees, they would create a much stronger interior infield.

The question is, how much would Swanson cost on the open market? According to MLB insider Jon Heyman, the Braves offered him a deal around $100 million over seven years. However, a seven-year deal worth around $150 million is more reasonable for his services. That would pay Swanson $21.4 million, but that could go in either direction.

Cashman already indicated that youngsters Oswald Peraza and Anthony Volpe will be in the mix at shortstop this upcoming season, but any more competition is only a positive move. In fact, Peraza could theoretically play third base and Volpe second base if the team elects to trade Gleyber Torres.

Signing a short-stop may throw a wrench into the team’s long-term plans, but an elite defensive player like Swanson may be a good reason to change the strategy.

Realistically, Swanson only presents an alternative to missing out on Judge in free agency. With the San Francisco Giants having a great meeting with the superstar slugger this past week, the Yankees have to be considering other avenues to improve the roster.