The Atlanta Braves are coming off a World Series championship and going to get two stars back from injury. Ronald Acuna Jr, who many believe is a top-three player in baseball behind Mike Trout and Mookie Betts, is hoping to be ready for Opening Day after suffering a torn ACL last summer. Mike Soroka, coming off two torn Achilles tendons in nine months, is also expected to return at some point in 2022. There is no doubt the Braves will be an even better ballclub with these two young stars returning, but a franchise icon may be moving on. Longtime Braves’ first baseman, Freddie Freeman, is reportedly expected not to re-sign with Atlanta after they failed to reach a deal before the lockout began. The negotiations had turned into a “competition” between the Braves front office and Freeman’s camp. The apparent issue is Freeman wanting six years but the Braves are only willing to offer five. It all seemed so easy to complete, Freeman and Braves were going to have a deal figured out before the lockout. He was supposed to stay a Brave for life. Now, imagine him only failing to re-sign, but staying within the division.
Below are some suitors I believe make the most sense for Freddie Freeman, assuming he leaves the Atlanta Braves.
New York Yankees
This is an obvious fit. The Yankees have a need at first after Anthony Rizzo’s contract expired, making him a free agent. Freeman would be a monster hitting to that short porch in right field, and the allure of playing for the New York Yankees makes this agreement the most likely in my opinion. If the Yankees could bring in Freddie Freeman, the power in that lineup would be stupid. A 1-2-3 of Gleyber Torres, Freeman, and Aaron Judge followed by a 4-5-6 of Giancarlo Stanton, Gary Sanchez, and DJ LeMahieu is maybe the best lineup the Yankees have rolled out since their murderer’s row 100 years ago.
Toronto Blue Jays
This is another obvious fit. Vlad Jr. is already a star. Adding Freeman to a lineup that already boasts George Springer, Bo Bichette, Teoscar Hernandez, Lourdes Gurriel Jr., and more young studs creates one of, if not the best offense in the American League. Toronto does not have much money tied up in their roster currently, if they can land Freeman, and another ace to slot in behind Jose Berrios, this team could come out of the AL. The only reason this may not happen is that Toronto does not usually give out big money contracts. All of their big acquisitions come via trades (Berrios, David Price, Josh Donaldson).
Los Angeles Dodgers
No, there isn’t a need here. There is never a need when the Dodgers are interested in acquiring a player, especially a superstar like Freeman. They didn’t need Trea Turner or Max Scherzer, but they went and got them anyway. I can definitely see them doing it again here. With the DH now confirmed coming to the National League, it makes it easier to find a place for him in the field and in the lineup, but there still is absolutely not a need here. The Dodgers’ payroll could go north of $300 million if they bring in Freeman, and it is hard to see them being outbid by an east-coast team.
Rhys Hoskins is not a good defender. Anywhere. Sure, his bat is good to have in the lineup, but when being offered Hoskins or Freeman, the choice is obvious. Freeman is a better hitter and fielder than Hoskins even as a 32-year-old. Hoskins can DH, which is his natural position. There is a fit, and the connection with Bryce Harper is real. Freeman and Harper are good friends and have been for a while. Harper was one of the first to congratulate Freeman on winning the 2020 NL MVP, and even followed it up with his own. Adding his contract to a team loaded with big contracts is a risky move, and one John Middleton most likely will not make, but this offense would be even better than last year’s.
New York Mets
Like the Dodgers, there is no need here. Also like the Dodgers, they can find a way to make it work. Moving Pete Alonso to DH opens up Freeman’s spot. If we have seen anything this winter, it’s that money is not a problem with the Mets’ new owner, Steve Cohen. The Mets have always seemed to be everyone’s February pick to win the East but falter down the stretch because of injuries or lack of leadership. Freeman has been one of the most durable first basemen of the last century. Freeman has played more than 147 games every year in his career except for 2015 and 2017 (and 2020, obviously), including only missing seven games since 2018. The leadership role is there too. He led the Braves to the World Series last fall. This lineup would be extremely good if they can get him, Alonso is a monster, Lindor is almost guaranteed to be better, and they brought in Starling Marte and Mark Canha as well. There haven’t been many, if any rumors about Freeman to the Mets, but this is a deal that could come together quickly if there is mutual interest.
(March 27, 2019 – Source: Drew Hallowell/Getty Images North America)