Despite losing Freddie Freeman in last year’s free agency, the Atlanta Braves remained one of baseball’s top teams (to the Los Angeles Dodgers, a playoff rival, no less). The Braves, who won 101 games during the regular season, were encouraged by manager Brian Snitker’s vision and the ongoing excellence of Dansby Swanson and Austin Riley, among others.

The Braves, though, must deal with a lot of uncertainty this winter. Swanson, who leads their team in WAR (according to Fangraphs), reached free agency after having his greatest season as a professional. As such, he was a highly sought-after target for any team trying to strengthen their middle infield. Swanson’s most significant suitors include the Chicago Cubs and St. Louis Cardinals in addition to the Atlanta Braves.

While the outcome of the bidding battle is still uncertain, the Braves are unquestionably facing a real possibility that Dansby Swanson may choose to leave in free agency. And after forging such a solid bond with the 28-year-old shortstop, Brian Snitker is now seeing the full force of how difficult free agency can be.

Dansby Swanson

“It’s hard. We went through that last year (with Freeman), and it’s happening again right now. And it’s difficult. You do grow attached to those guys, after all. We spend a lot of time together, and they’re great people. I’m devoted to him.

However, that is a component of the business. We are all aware that it will be a factor once we enter this room. The future will determine our course. According to David O’Brien of The Athletic, Snitker added, “I’ll always support that child” (subscription required).

Read More: White Sox Star Liam Hendriks Comes up In Trade Rumors at The Winter Meetings!

Dansby Swanson might decide to depart, but as we’ve seen recently (especially with the Boston Red Sox), there are many things that can affect a player’s decision on where to sign. Geographical considerations led Zach Eflin to sign with the Tampa Bay Rays, whilst Andrew Heaney chose to sign with the Texas Rangers because of his friendship with Chris Young.

Swanson has checked both of those boxes with the Braves, so it’s possible that he’ll stay in Atlanta. Brian Snitker may find the uncertainty challenging right now (which is understandable), but the coming weeks will be critical in determining whether or not his worries may be allayed.

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