Does Swanson, Anthopoulos convo make reunion more likely?

December 5th, 2022

SAN DIEGO -- Alex Anthopoulos had a tremendous relationship with Freddie Freeman, and his bond with grew even stronger this past summer. But like with Freeman last winter, the Braves' president of baseball operations has tackled the challenge of removing emotions from decisions that could positively or negatively impact the organization for many years to come.

“You’re not human if you don’t [feel] it or if you don’t try to balance it out,” Anthopoulos said. “Bottom line is it’s best for you to do what’s best for the organization. Sometimes, that doesn’t line up and that’s the hardest part. There’s no doubt when you have relationships and connections, it’s hard.”

As the offseason’s first month has elapsed without any apparent progress, it’s become more difficult to remain optimistic about the possibility of Swanson returning next year. This seems to be playing out much like what Freeman experienced before he signed with the Dodgers last winter. Swanson has the same representative that Freeman used last winter.

But the landscape is different. Freeman received a five-year, $135 million offer from Atlanta in July 2021, and no other teams made serious bids once the offseason began because the industry-wide assumption was he would sign back with the Braves. Matt Olson, Anthony Rizzo and Adam Duvall were all seen as fallback options if there was a need for a first baseman.

Duvall? Think of it as Option Z, kind of like Orlando Arcia and Vaughn Grissom in relationship to the shortstop position this winter.

Once last winter’s lockout ended, teams and free agents had to work quickly to find fits. This created reason to question why Freeman and Anthopoulos didn’t just reach out to each other directly to get something done without an agent. Anthopolous said he doesn’t talk to free agents. 

But early Sunday night, he admitted he recently spoke to Swanson.

“I’m not going to add anything more to that other than my conversations with him are always great,”  Anthopoulos said. “Anyone who has a conversation with him, you come away knowing how smart he is. It’s just a reminder of his importance and what he brings.”

So, why did Anthopoulos choose to talk to Swanson?

“I don’t reach out to free agents,” Anthopoulos said. “With that being said, it’s a two-way street and I’m happy to have conversations at any time.”

In other words, Anthopoulos was happy to take Swanson’s call and share a discussion with somebody he’s grown to respect more and more over the five years they have spent together.

This recent discussion didn’t seem to create any progress on the financial landscape. Swanson is going to get a six-year deal and the Braves seem open to this. But the two parties haven’t come close to financial offers Swanson could soon get, especially after the top two free-agent shortstops -- Carlos Correa and Trea Turner -- sign.