Freddie Freeman’s final free-agent vacation spot has been one of many extra fascinating storylines of the offseason. On the outset of free company, most felt a reunion with the Braves was a fait accompli, however as Freeman’s keep available on the market has lingered, there’s been growing hypothesis about him signing elsewhere.
We will’t know once we’ll get a decision, because of the continuing lockout, however Joel Sherman of the New York Post reports that there’s an trade sense that Freeman will act rapidly as soon as the transaction freeze lifts. Particularly, Sherman means that inside 48 hours of the freeze lifting, Freeman’s “path will likely be publicly identified.” The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal suggested something similar, albeit with out the precise timeline, when writing late final month that each Freeman and the Braves may “act rapidly” post-lockout.
Freeman’s destiny is a renewed speaking level amongst Braves followers within the wake of this morning’s earnings report from Liberty Media, which owns the Braves, though the newly out there public perception into the staff’s financials doubtless has little to no influence on their pursuit of Freeman. It’s all the time been a query of whether or not possession and/or the entrance workplace deems Freeman’s asking worth to be a prudent long-term transfer for the group, and the staff knew these figures can be going public at this level.
Maybe extra fascinating, nevertheless, is Sherman’s suggestion that one theoretical Freeman suitor, the Blue Jays, has been given possession approval for a “massive enhance in payroll” even after the additions of George Springer, Kevin Gausman and Jose Berrios over the previous year-plus. The Jays’ need so as to add a left-handed bat to the combination isn’t precisely a brand new revelation; they reportedly pursued Corey Seager previous to his cope with the Rangers and have been speculatively tied to names like Kyle Schwarber and the since-retired Kyle Seager. The Jays had been even linked to Freeman way back to Nov. 30. Extra not too long ago, Rosenthal mentioned on Sportsnet that he expects the Jays to be concerned on Freeman each time the lockout lifts (video link).
Toronto is only one speculative different, and Freeman has additionally been closely linked to the Dodgers and Yankees along with the incumbent Braves. ESPN’s Buster Olney prompt in a current look on the Michael Kay Present (audio link, with Freeman speak beginning round 11 minutes) that the Mets no less than “checked in” on Freeman previous to the lockout, though SNY’s Andy Martino wrote this morning that the probabilities of a Freeman/Mets deal coming collectively border on nonexistent. Olney, too, mentions the Blue Jays as a staff that has inquired on Freeman (together with the Dodgers), and he extra broadly discusses a rising trade sentiment that Freeman received’t return to the Braves.
The Braves’ greatest provide so far has reportedly been a five-year, $135MM contract. He’s mentioned to be eyeing a six-year pact on the heels of one other excellent season. Freeman adopted up his 2020 NL MVP Award with a .300/.393/.503 displaying and 31 residence runs in the course of the common season, plus a .304/.420/.625 line with 5 residence runs in 69 postseason plate appearances. It was one more spectacular season for the ever-reliable first baseman, who has a wRC+ of 132 or higher (indicating he’s been no less than 32 share factors extra productive than the league common hitter) yearly since 2013.
It’s actually doable the Braves and Freeman can but bridge the hole that remained in talks by the imposition of the lockout. But Atlanta has no less than explored some alternate options. The Braves reportedly seemed into Anthony Rizzo as a free agent chance, and so they’ve been talked about as a possible commerce companion with the A’s on Matt Olson on a number of events. Sherman speaks with just a few brokers and one rival govt who speculate that Atlanta may even pivot to pursuing an Olson commerce between the time the lockout is lifted and when Freeman indicators. The chief notes that somebody like Kyle Wright — an enormous league prepared starter who was previously a high 5 draftee and highly-regarded prospect — matches the mould of the near-MLB expertise the A’s may search for in an Olson deal. Wright not has the commerce worth to middle a package deal that might persuade the A’s to half with Olson, however he’d be a smart choice for Oakland to discover as an ancillary piece in talks with Atlanta.
That’s conjecture from folks outdoors the Atlanta group, to be clear. What president of baseball operations Alex Anthopoulos and his employees have deliberate for the post-lockout scramble received’t change into evident till offseason exercise really resumes. But the rising trade chatter reinforces that Freeman remaining in Atlanta might not be the lock many anticipated because the Braves entered the offseason driving excessive on a World Sequence title, notably as different doable suitors loom.