Sure, that is a pretty obvious statement. The SF Giants made a huge acquisition on Tuesday night by signing star shortstop Carlos Correa to a 13-year, $350 million pact. However, the Giants considered a different move as well. Before the Correa deal was announced, Jon Morosi of the MLB Network confirmed that the Giants have been in contact with longtime Atlanta Braves shortstop Dansby Swanson.
The SF Giants absolutely make right call with signing Carlos Correa
With Swanson and Correa on the market, the Giants appeared to be looking beyond 2023 in terms of filling the void at shortstop. Brandon Crawford has one year remaining on the two-year, $32 million extension that he signed back in 2021, but the Giants may try to find his eventual replacement before the contract expires.
Both Swanson and Correa would have been major upgrades, but one was clearly the superior option and that was the latter. Correa is not only an excellent choice because of his production on the field, but he immediately becomes the new face of the franchise.
The right-handed bat was superb in 2022, slashing .291/.366/.467 (140 OPS+) with 22 home runs, 64 RBI, and 70 runs in 590 plate appearances. This included a 10.3 percent walk rate against a 20.5 percent strikeout rate.
Not only is Correa a force in the lineup, but he flashes a strong glove as well. According to the defensive metrics, few shortstops have been as strong defensively as Correa since he debuted with the Houston Astros in 2015.
Swanson would have been a nice addition as well. The 28-year-old shortstop registered a .277/.329/.447 line (114 OPS+) with 25 home runs, 96 RBI, and 99 runs in 696 plate appearances for the Atlanta Braves. He was worth +9 Defensive Runs Saved and +20 Outs Above Average (OAA) at shortstop in 2022.
In a lot of ways, this was a career-year for Swanson. He will be an excellent addition for whichever team lands him, but he is just not on the same level as Correa. For starters, Swanson has tallied a 95 OPS+ in seven seasons, meaning that he has been a below-average hitter throughout his career.
I am weary of the fact that he had his best season at the plate in a career year. I tend to like a predictable track record and Swanson does not necessarily have that. He might be able to sustain the level of production he had last year, but I have my doubts.
Defensively, an argument can be made for either player. This was an easy decision by choosing Correa over Swanson. Both are great players, but Correa will help turn this Giants franchise around.