The Atlanta Braves have not publicly said they are against giving away long contracts to players over 30, but it’s pretty clear, judging from their latest transactions, that they are not comfortable doing that.
In theory, that is a fine strategy: baseball players, like all human beings, tend to slip physically due to age.
They could, and should, have handled the Freddie Freeman situation a little better.
To review: Atlanta traded for Oakland Athletics first baseman Matt Olson on Monday, and extended him on an eight-year, $168 million deal on Tuesday.
Freeman, currently 32, was asking for a six-year pact, one that Atlanta was clearly not comfortable offering.
Could the Braves have made an exception?
From a business standpoint, one can understand the Braves.
Atlanta Didn’t Let Freeman Know They Were Trading For Olson
However, according to NY Post’s Joel Sherman, the Braves didn’t even bother giving Freeman a heads up about their plans with Olson, at least to see if there cold be a change of heart from the player.
Source told The Post that the #Braves did not give Freeman or his representatives a heads up that the Olson trade was coming.
— Joel Sherman (@Joelsherman1) March 14, 2022
Freeman, drafted and developed by the Braves, has been with the team since 2010: he, at least, deserved to know what the team was up to.
In the specific case of Olson’s extension, the team clearly felt comfortable with it because it would pay him close to $20 million per year until he is 35.
The Braves didn’t want to go around $30 million per year and pay Freeman until he was 38.
“Olson’s 8-yr, $168M extension with the #Braves takes him thru his age-35 season. If hold up with Atl was that Freeman wanted 6-yr deal not 5 Braves offering. 6 would have taken thru age-37 campaign,” Sherman tweeted.
Olson’s 8-yr, $168M extension with the #Braves takes him thru his age-35 season. If hold up with Atl was that Freeman wanted 6-yr deal not 5 Braves offering. 6 would have taken thru age-37 campaign
— Joel Sherman (@Joelsherman1) March 15, 2022
It’s a franchise philosophy and it’s understandable: the way in which they operated, however, could have been better.