Freddy FreemanThe free agent’s final destination was one of the most fascinating off-season facts. At the start of Free Agency, most felt that a reunion with the Braves was a fait accompli, but as Freeman continued to be in the market, there was growing speculation about him signing elsewhere.
We can’t know when we’ll get a solution, thanks to the ongoing shutdown, but Joel Sherman reports from the New York Post There is an industrial sense that Freeman will act quickly once the transaction freeze is lifted. Specifically, Sherman suggests that within 48 hours of lifting the freeze, “Freeman’s path will be known to the public.” Ken Rosenthal athlete Suggest something similaralthough there was no set timetable, when writing late last month that both Freeman and Braves could “act quickly” after the shutdown.
Freeman’s fate is a renewed talking point among Braves fans in the wake of this morning Liberty Media Earnings Report, which owns the Braves, although newly available public insight into the team’s financials will likely have little or no impact on their pursuit of Freeman. The question had always been whether the property and/or front office considered Freeman’s asking price to be a wise long-term move for the organization, and the team knew those numbers would be out to the public at this point.
Perhaps most interesting, however, is Sherman’s suggestion that one of Freeman’s suitors, the Blue Jays, had secured ownership approval for a “significant payroll increase” even after the additions of George SpringerAnd the Kevin Gussman And the Jose Perios over the past year or more. Jays’ desire to add a left-handed bat to the mix isn’t exactly a new find; It said Follow Cory Seger Prior to his deal with Rangers, he was speculatively linked to names like Kyle Schwarber And retired since then Kyle Seeger. It was even OK linked to freeman It dates back to the 30th of November. Most recently, Rosenthal said on Sportsnet that he expects Jays to participate in Freeman whenever the lockdown is lifted (video link).
Toronto is just one alternative to speculation, and Freeman is heavily associated with the Dodgers and Yankees as well as the current Braves. In his recent appearance on The Michael Kay Show, ESPN’s Buster Olney suggested (audio linkwith Freeman beginning to talk about 11 minutes) that the Mets “check-in” at least at Freeman before closing, though Andy Martino from SNY wrote this morning The chances of a Freeman/Mets deal are virtually non-existent. Olney, too, mentions the Blue Jays as a team that inquired about Freeman (along with the Dodgers), and discusses more broadly the growing feeling in the industry that Freeman won’t be back for the Braves.
Reportedly, the best bid the Braves have made so far is a five-year contract worth $135 million. He is said to be eyeing a six-year deal on the heels of another great season. Freeman went on to win the 2020 NL MVP with a .300/.393/.503 run and 31 home runs during the regular season, as well as a .304/.420/.625 streak with five home runs in 69 postseason board appearances. It’s been another impressive season for the always reliable number one baseman, who has a WRC+132 or better (which indicates he’s been at least 32 percentage points more productive than the league’s batting average) every year since 2013.
It is certainly possible that Braves and Freeman could bridge the gap that remained in the talks by enforcing the shutdown. However, Atlanta has explored at least some alternatives. The brave have reportedly looked at Anthony Rizzo As a free agent potential, they have been mentioned as a potential business partner with A’s on Matt Olson On multiple occasions. Sherman talks with a few agents and one rival executive who speculate that Atlanta could focus on pursuing Olson’s trade between the time the shutdown is lifted and when Freeman signs off. The CEO notices that someone likes Kyle Wright – A major league-ready player who was previously in the top five recruited and potentially highly regarded – fits the mold of MLB’s close-up talent players could look for in an Olson deal. Wright no longer has the commercial value of a package focus that could persuade A’s to ditch Olson, but it would be a reasonable option for Oakland to explore as a secondary piece in talks with Atlanta.
To be clear, this is a guess from people outside the Atlanta organization. It won’t be clear what Chief Baseball Operations Chief Alex Antopoulos and his staff have planned in the post-lockdown scramble until off-season activity can actually resume. However, growing industry chatter reinforces that Freeman’s stay in Atlanta may not be the lock many expected as the Braves go into the off-season ahead of the world title, especially as other potential suitors loom.