For the first time since 1995, the Atlanta Braves are atop the baseball world.
The club had a miraculous 2021 season in which it overcame countless obstacles.
Against all odds, Atlanta went all the way and claimed the title.
The organization deserves to celebrate, but it also needs to prepare for a big offseason.
The team likely has a lot of things that it wants to address this winter.
When it comes to the topic of contract extensions, there are a few players who come to mind as prime candidates for Atlanta.
3. Max Fried
The Braves have a special talent in Max Fried.
The lefty has been impressive at every turn of his MLB career so far, and he added a massive accomplishment to his resume just days ago by getting the win in the clinching game of the 2021 World Series.
Fried seems to be getting better with each passing season.
Over 39 starts since the beginning of the 2020 campaign, he has a 2.84 ERA, 158 ERA+, and 3.26 FIP.
You don’t stumble upon a player like that very often.
The 27-year-old is under club control until 2025, but it’s not too soon for the Braves to think about extending him.
They can’t let this one slip away.
2. Dansby Swanson
Dansby Swanson was drafted by the Arizona Diamondbacks, but he has spent his entire big-league career with the Braves.
Swanson’s time in the majors got off to a somewhat rocky start over his first few seasons, but in recent years, he has found his groove.
The 27-year-old isn’t the superstar many fans thought he was going to be, but he has developed into a very serviceable MLB player.
After a decent 2021 regular season, he made a big impact at certain points in the 2021 playoffs.
He posted an OPS of .804 in the World Series, which was aided by two home runs.
He earned every bit of his ring.
Dansby Swanson ties the game with a home run! pic.twitter.com/OaB7hzND8J
— Talkin’ Baseball (@TalkinBaseball_) October 31, 2021
Over his last two seasons, Swanson has a .774 OPS and 101 OPS+ and is averaging 27 home runs per 162 games.
He’s also a great defensive shortstop, which adds to his case for a potential contract extension.
Right now, he’s only under club control for one more season, so it’s time for Atlanta to start thinking about which direction it wants to go here.
1. Freddie Freeman
On Nov. 7, MLB free agency officially begins, at which point former MVP Freddie Freeman will be able to sign with any team in the league.
The Braves can’t let that happen.
The 32-year-old Freeman is only getting better with age, and Atlanta would simply be a worse team without him.
The veteran is one of the faces of the organization and has spent his entire MLB career with the Braves.
Fans would be very upset to see the five-time All-Star in another uniform next season.
Freddie Freeman World Champion.
What a moment. pic.twitter.com/m0DQTyN3GP
— MLB (@MLB) November 3, 2021
Over the last six years, Freeman is batting .305 with a .946 OPS, and he’s averaging 33 home runs per 162 games over that span.
Over 12 years at the MLB level, he’s a .295 hitter with an OPS of .893.
His production is incredibly consistent.
You always know what you’re going to get from him.
Will Atlanta do the right thing and ink the superstar to a new deal?
We’ll get an answer soon.