New predictions have Dansby Swanson landing with the Cubs

Division Series - Philadelphia Phillies v Atlanta Braves - Game One
Division Series - Philadelphia Phillies v Atlanta Braves - Game One / Kevin D. Liles/Atlanta Braves/GettyImages

MLB Trade Rumors' annual top 50 free agent predictions piece dropped on Thursday - and, with it, some nice nuggets for Cubs fans to dig into. I'll get into every player Chicago was mentioned as a suitor for later this weekend, but for now, we'll focus on the glaring shortstop question that's on the top of everyone's mind heading into the offseason.

Once again, instead of aligning on just one landing spot for each player, the MLBTR crew - comprised of Steve Adams, Tim Dierkes, Anthony Franco and Darragh McDonald - each made selections. Three of the four tapped Dansby Swanson as the next Cubs shortstop, noting he's the likeliest of the free agent shortstop class to sign a shorter-term deal, something we know Jed Hoyer and Carter Hawkins strongly prefer.

Cubs seem likely to play in the shallower end of the shortstop pool

MLBTR pegs Swanson for a seven-year, $154 million contract - which still feels long based on everything we've heard from the Cubs' side of things. I think they'd rather overpay on AAV to keep the deal closer to five years, but we'll see how things play out. The market might demand they go longer to land one of the four shortstops, whether it be Swanson or one of the others.

Speaking of those alternatives - here's what they predict as far as contract terms for Carlos Correa, Xander Bogaerts and Trea Turner. Correa - nine years, $288 million, Turner - eight years, $268 million and Bogaerts - seven years, $189 million. As you can see, Turner and Correa are on a whole different level, especially in terms of overall dollars, than both Swanson and, to a lesser degree, Bogaerts.

Swanson, who turns 29 in February, is coming off the best year of his career - a 5.7 bWAR campaign with the NL East champion Braves in which he hit .277/.329/.447 with 32 doubles, 25 home runs and 96 RBI - good for a 115 OPS+. He also swiped 18 bases and, with the changes to the base size in 2023, could be a legitimate 20-20 threat in years to come.

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At least in my eyes, there's a wide gap between what Correa or Turner bring to the table and what you can realistically expect from Swanson. He'd be a solid addition, to be sure, but he's not that big bat you need to add to the offense. Meanwhile, both Turner and Correa give you the whole picture - albeit at a much higher price tag.