Dansby Swanson knows he's come up short when the Cubs needed him most

The Cubs' All-Star shortstop has vanished down the stretch offensively - drawing the ire of fans.

Milwaukee Brewers v Chicago Cubs
Milwaukee Brewers v Chicago Cubs / Michael Reaves/GettyImages

The Chicago Cubs didn't give Dansby Swanson the second-largest free agent guarantee in franchise history because they expected him to go out and win a Silver Slugger. They brought him in to be a leader - someone with a long history of winning - play elite defense at shortstop and hold his own with the bat.

He's done all of those things and has been worth 4.9 fWAR this season, the second best mark of his career. The signing has been anything but a bust, yet Swanson has found himself in the crosshairs of Cubs fans during the team's recent freefall for his disappointing at-bats of late.

Cubs have gotten nothing from Dansby Swanson at the plate lately

Swanson is just 9 for his last 49 (.184) with an OPS just over .600. He's made a handful of uncharacteristic errors, which hasn't helped matters, and, on the whole, no one is less thrilled with his performance than Swanson himself.

The Cubs have watched their postseason odds crater in September, with one late-inning collapse after another. The team has dropped three straight in walk-off fashion and now need a miracle even to back into the playoffs. All signs point to the team sitting at home in October for the third straight year and fourth time in five years.

The criticism is warranted, sure. But just like Seiya Suzuki's impact on this Cubs team stretches far beyond the error that cost Chicago a win in Atlanta this week, Swanson's role far exceeds a tough stretch at the plate to close out the season.