Freddie Freeman‘s future with the Atlanta Braves is very murky.
Although virtually all Braves fans want the MLB superstar to return to the organization, it has become very clear of late that a Freeman deal with the Braves is far from a sure thing.
MLB insider Buster Olney offered some insight on where things stand between the two sides.
“The presumption among a lot of rival executives last year was that Freeman and the Braves would eventually work out a deal,” Olney wrote. “But Freeman was not among the stars who signed a pre-lockout contract — even after the Braves won the World Series and the franchise operated with the championship glow (and cash injection). So the industry view has shifted; there is a growing belief that Freeman will land somewhere outside of Atlanta because of the standoff in his negotiations. The Braves offered $135 million over five years, sources say, and Freeman is looking for a six-year deal.”
"The two most prominent candidates would be the Yankees, who already have a bunch of big contracts… and the other would be the #Dodgers."@Buster_ESPN on Freddie Freeman possibly leaving the Braves with @VeniceMase & @ramonashelburne on 710 ESPN 📻 https://t.co/Wda75J4lqQ pic.twitter.com/xibgx4FBn5
— ESPN Los Angeles (@ESPNLosAngeles) February 22, 2022
With Freeman’s future looking uncertain, some other teams have started to surface in rumors involving the five-time All-Star.
Those teams are the New York Yankees and Los Angeles Dodgers, according to Olney.
It goes without saying that it’s going to be very interesting to see what the next few days, weeks or months hold for Freeman.
If he were to sign with a team like the Yankees or Dodgers, it’d be one of the biggest developments of the offseason.
A Hot Commodity
It should come as no surprise that multiple teams are seemingly ready to scoop Freeman up if the Braves fail to retain him.
After all, the 32-year-old posts outstanding numbers on a yearly basis, and he’s showing no signs of slowing down.
Since the start of the 2016 season, Freeman is batting .305 with a .946 OPS and 146 OPS+.
During that same span, he’s averaging 33 home runs per 162 games and a bWAR of 5.1 per 650 plate appearances.
The veteran took home MVP honors in the 2020 season after registering an absurd 1.102 OPS and 187 OPS+, then he followed it up by leading the Braves to a World Seres title in the 2021 campaign.
Freddie Freeman’s ranks among MLB first baseman since 2010:
• 1,704 hits (1st)
• 941 RBI (1st)
• 367 doubles (1st)
• 969 runs (1st)
• 2,934 total bases (1st)
• 664 XBH (1st)
• .296 BA (2nd)
• 271 HR (3rd)
• .893 OPS (3rd)
• 43.1 WAR (3rd) pic.twitter.com/4TrvO0liBl
— Danny Vietti (@DannyVietti) February 22, 2022
As mentioned, it doesn’t look like Freeman is going to run out of gas any time soon.
Still, it should be noted that since he’s apparently looking for a six-year deal, he’d be 38 by the time a deal of that length expires.
It’s very possible (and perhaps even likely) that he’d start to regress before the end of a potential six-year deal.
Regardless, there are surely plenty of teams out there that would be willing to take, say, four great Freeman seasons followed by a couple of less impressive years at the end.
Will The Rich Get Richer?
The Yankees and Dodgers will both be contenders in the 2022 season.
Some early projections have both teams winning their respective divisions.
If either team were to add Freeman, that club’s chances at winning the 2022 title would obviously get a huge boost.
The Dodgers had one of the best offenses in baseball in 2021, as they averaged 5.05 runs per game.
They ranked fifth in the majors in that department, and their offense would likely only improve with the addition of Freeman.
As for the Yankees, they had a very underwhelming offense in the 2021 campaign.
They averaged just 4.37 runs per game, ranking 19th in all of baseball.
By adding Freeman, they’d immediately become more intimating on paper.