Braves Extend Freddie Freeman

THURSDAY: Jon Heyman of CBS Sports provides the contract breakdown (Twitter link): Freeman received a $2.875MM signing bonus. He will be paid $5.125MM in 2014, $8.5MM in 2015 and $12MM in 2016. His free agent years are valued at $20.5MM (2017), $21MM (2018-19) and $22MM (2020-21).

TUESDAY: Freddie Freeman has reached an extension with the Braves that not only gives him the franchise's highest-ever salary, but constitutes one of the biggest guarantees ever made to a player with less than four years of service time. The team announced the eight-year deal, which will reportedly guarantee the first baseman a stunning $135MM.

Freeman, like teammate Jason Heyward (who reached a two-year contract agreement earlier today), is represented by Excel Sports Management. His agents have secured him a larger guarantee than the five-year, $105MM promise made by the Brewers to Ryan Braun when he still had less than four years of service. It also bests the $120MM guarantee given by the Rangers last year to Elvis Andrus, when he had four years on his clock. The deal slots in beneath the eight-year, $159MM guarantee made by the Giants to Buster Posey (with less than three years of service) and the seven-year, $154MM deal given Adrian Gonzalez by the Red Sox back in 2011 (when he was a year away from free agency).

Freeman-Freddie

The 24-year-old Freeman is coming off a breakout season in which he finished fifth in the National League MVP voting and earned his first All-Star nod. Freeman slashed .319/.396/.501 with 23 homers for the NL East Division champs in 2013. But Freeman was somewhat less outstanding in his prior two seasons (the first of which was his rookie campaign at just 21 years of age). Posting a sturdy 1,255 plate appearances between 2011-12, Freeman slashed .271/.343/.452 and knocked 44 long balls. Though Freeman benefitted from a .371 BABIP last year, he also showed improvements in his strikeout and walk rates while carrying one of the league's best line drive rates. Clearly, the Braves expect Freeman to continue last year's output.

On the defensive side of the ledger, advanced metrics show mixed reviews but a clearly improving outlook. Freeman received his first positive UZR/150 rating this past year, and that metric sees clear and steady improvement across Freeman's early career. Meanwhile, Defensive Runs Saved reflects a similar upward trajectory and credits Feeman with saving a solid seven runs last year. Indeed, the Fielding Bible Awards voting tapped Freeman as the fourth-best fielding first bagger in the game.

For an idea of how this deal reflects on league-wide salary trends, consider Justin Morneau's January 25, 2008 extension with the Twins. With 3.168 years of service under his belt, and coming off of an MVP and then an All-Star campaign, the fellow first baseman was promised $80MM over six years. Though younger, Freeman signs his deal at a point at which he has shown a somewhat lower high-water mark and, arguably at least, a less-promising overall trajectory than that of Morneau. 

Indeed, as MLBTR's Steve Adams notes on Twitter, the Braves seem to have paid a hefty price for the five free agent years covered by the new contract. Even making the aggressive assumption that Freeman would earn $30MM over his arbitration period — quite unlikely, since he stood to make less than $6MM this year already — then the contract pays him a $21MM AAV for his free agent years. That implied free agency value, which is surely a low estimate, seems like a fairly steep price for a promise made three full seasons before Freeman would have hit the open market.

Freeman and the Braves faced a fairly wide gap after exchanging arbitration figures last month, as Freeman filed for a $5.75MM salary and the Braves countered at $4.5MM (MLBTR contributor Matt Swartz had projected a $4.9MM payday for Freeman).

Though the Braves are a "file and trial" team, GM Frank Wren reminded after Heyward's new contract that said policy is only in reference to one-year deals. That line of thinking is common among file and trial clubs, as they are unwilling to continue negotiating one-year pacts after exchanging figures but will typically remain amenable to extensions leading up to an arbitration hearing.

Freeman had previously been controllable through the 2016 season, but this new contract extends well beyond his initial six years of team control. Freeman will not be eligible for free agency until 2022, when he will be 32 years old. As such, it's a significant deal for the Braves, who typically don't make that type of commitment to players in advance of free agency.

The only player with fewer than five years of service time that has been extended to a deal of this length under general manager Frank Wren was Brian McCann, who inked a six-year, $26.8MM contract heading into the 2007 season when he had just 189 big league games (696 PAs) under his belt. McCann had less than two years of service time under his belt at that point, while Freeman is currently at three years, 33 days. Freeman's deal is the largest in franchise history for the Braves, eclipsing the six-year, $90MM pact inked by Chipper Jones prior to the 2001 season.

With Freeman and Heyward now having agreed to extensions, the Braves can turn their focus to closer Craig Kimbrel — their lone remaining arbitration case. Kimbrel filed for a $9MM salary to the Braves' $6.55MM offer, making his gap significantly more substantial than the gaps faced by Freeman or Heyward.

Jon Heyman of CBS Sports first reported the agreement on Twitter. Jon Paul Morosi and Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports first reported that the two sides were nearing a multi-year deal (Twitter link). Morosi first reported that the deal was in the realm of eight years and nine figures (Twitter links). The Associated Press reported that the deal was for eight years and nine figures (via the New York Times). Peter Gammons of GammonsDaily.com reported that the deal would pay Freeman $135MM (via Twitter).

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.


139 Responses to Braves Extend Freddie Freeman Leave a Reply

  1. TheNextEpstein 1 year ago

    If it is 8 years and $125mm giving an AAV of $15.6mm this is a great deal for the Braves. Locks up Freddie’s prime 24-31 seasons at a very very reasonable rate.

    • Bob Bunker 1 year ago

      Well lets say his arbitration years would have been a total of 3 years 27. Then that would mean his 5 free agent years they are paying him 98 million or just about 20 million a year. I think personally they should have gone year to year with him and for 2014, 2015, and 2016 they would have paid him under the AAV of this deal and then as a free agent, I just don’t see him getting much more than 5 100.

      • TheNextEpstein 1 year ago

        Maybe, but it is harder and harder for teams to lock up their players as they get closer to free agency. If they were to go year to year for the next 3 years and then let him go to free agency as a 27 year old I guarantee you he would get more than 5 years and $100mm. The market prices are going no where but up especially for a player the caliber of Freeman.

        • Bob Bunker 1 year ago

          I don’t know I see a 1B who looks like a .350 OBP guy, with around 20 HR power, and poor graded D. Maybe as a 28 year old free agent that gets 6-7 year deal but I’m not sure if the AAV would exceed 20 million.

          • TheNextEpstein 1 year ago

            But you are assuming he doesn’t get any better, and that he will return to the Braves. If he doesn’t get any better than you might be right but it is highly unlikely a 24 year old won’t get better. The closer a player gets to free agency the more costly a player becomes for the team to keep.

          • Bob Bunker 1 year ago

            Yeah I think he will get better but look at the comparable.

            1. Eddie Murray (First three years averaged 27 HR, career high was 32)

            2. Jason Thompson (First three years hit 17, 31, and 26 never hit more than 31 and hit 17 at 28 and 18 at 29 and 12 at 30.

            3. Erik Hosmer

            4. Jack Clark (First 3 years 13, 25, and 26 and only had one year above 30)

            6. Billy Butler (First 3 years 11, 21, and 15 career high 29 with years of 15 and 19 sandwiching that year)

            All I’m saying is at 1B power pays and HR pays. Obviously, HR aren’t all that matters but I think that is his one way to improve and his comparables didn’t really improve much in that category.

            I don’t know much about his scouting reports though I admit.

          • TheNextEpstein 1 year ago

            Ok, assuming you are right and he hits 25-30 home runs the next 3 years, has OBP in the 350-390 range, plays average defense. You don’t think someone would offer a 27 year old 5 and 100? This isn’t the 90s, solid offensive contributers are hard to come by. The price for them will only continue to go up as has salaries the last decade.

          • Bob Bunker 1 year ago

            Alright I guess my point was not necessarily he’s not worth his deal because he will be but that its not a great deal especially compared to other extensions.

            Goldsmitch( 5 year 32 million extension with a 6th year 14 M option that starts this year)

            Craig( 5 years 31 million with a 6th year 13 M option) Now I know different situations but even considering that is Freeman worth 3 times the commitment as those guys.

            Longoria( 6 years 100 million additional)

          • -C 1 year ago

            No contract will compare favorably to Longoria’s. It just won’t happen.

            Goldschmidt’s contract buys out just one free agent year, with another FA year in an option. So it’s not really close to apples-to-apples with Freeman’s, as Freeman’s projects to buy five free agent seasons (assuming 8 years). The DBacks did get those FA years cheap, though.

            Craig’s deal is similar, as it’s five years with only one of those years being a free agent year. They did get an option on a second FA season.And, again, they did it cheaply.

            Getting five free agent years from Freeman is a really good get…they’re just going to come at higher expense because he was closer to free agency than either player at the time the contract was agreed upon.

            When those deals are up, Freeman will still be locked in at ~$20M for 2-3 years and he’ll be much younger than either of those guys (2 years younger than Goldschmidt, five years younger than Craig). If those guys are still playing good ball, they’re going to get huge dollars when they hit FA. With inflation looking to be ~30% this year alone in the baseball world, they may be making upwards of $30-40M while Freeman makes considerably less. So it will balance out in the long run.

            -C

          • Chris Koch 1 year ago

            Freeman is 23 locked through being 31 That is awesome for any kind of extension. Not signing a guy to his 32-40age years which is what will happen when this contract ends. All Prime years here dream come true for Atlanta fans.

          • pft2 1 year ago

            Yeah, and 3 yrs from now that 5/100 is 5/115

          • Tim Bliss 1 year ago

            Freeman’s homerun totals in his career so far have been 21, 23 and 23. Why are you comparing him to guys that had seasons with homerun totals in the teens and saying that Freeman’s power peak is no more than 20 homeruns a year or so? Not to mention Freeman just turned 24 in September.

          • -C 1 year ago

            Freeman is a .400 OBP guy with power potential of 30 HR, or thereabouts, and his defense has been ranked average to good in the past couple seasons.

            -C

          • Bob Bunker 1 year ago

            How is he a 400 OBP guy when he had two years around .340 and one year of .390 with a high BABIP that led to a rise in BA and thus OBP?

          • -C 1 year ago

            Because more than a quarter of his batted ball profile is line drives, which is top-tier in MLB (and also highly favors the probability of a batted ball being a hit) while reducing his strikeout rate by 3 points over the past couple seasons and maintaining an above-average walk rate.

            Given that he’s only 23, you also need to project improvement on these figures as he moves into his prime seasons.

            It’s almost as if you know what the component statistics mean, you can properly project a player’s future performance.

            -C

          • Tim Bliss 1 year ago

            I don’t think Freeman has reached his power potential yet. I think Freeman develops into a 30 homerun a year guy despite being a linedrive hitter.

      • Chris Koch 1 year ago

        I don’t think you’ve seen the 1b market lately. It’s putrid. In 3 years an AllStar 1b like Freeman will command close to Cano Money. Stud 1b apparently weren’t grown on trees in the late 90’s. All of Baseball last year in terms of WAR only 11 exceeded 3WAR and only 5 exceeded 5WAR Freeman being one of them. And when you go down the list you don’t say oh well so and so has 3+WAR potential. Freeman is elite for 1b 20+Mil in Free Agency would have been coming. Especially when Texiera was about to be a FA the same time Freeman was going to.

  2. PaganIdolCow 1 year ago

    The Braves have very good bullpen depth. Wren and his scouting staff are great at finding arms. Kimbrel may be a great closer, but the Braves’ budget shouldn’t be hamstrung by a closer.

    • Tim Bliss 1 year ago

      I agree.

    • LayerCake 1 year ago

      No one said it should be. What I am saying is that Walden isn’t the answer. If Walden was a closer the Angels would not have traded for Frieri.

      • Tim Bliss 1 year ago

        Walden is 35 for 48 (72.9%) in his career in converting saves. That includes some situations where he wasn’t closing but suffered blown saves pitching in the 7th or 8th inning. That’s not great but you can find guys that have been plenty worse than that in their career including a few guys the Braves have had to deal with in recent years when they didn’t have Smoltz or Kimbrel closing.

        • LayerCake 1 year ago

          Yeah and 95% of that comes from 2011 in which he also blew 10 saves in 42 tries. While thats not horrid he then gets demoted from the closer role the following season and then traded in 2013. So you now want to slot that same guy who hasn’t been in a consistent closer role since his rookie season back into the closer slot because Kimbrel is going to get paid? Since 2012 using your own stats he’s 3 for 6 in save attempts (50%). There’s a reason he was demoted by the Angels. And while the bullpen is good who really stands out as a closer? The Braves using yours and Pagan’s idea should have traded Kimbrel this off-season, signed Joe Nathan (who would have been cheaper per year than Kimbrel) until Hursh was ready (he’s still in Single-A). I’d like to add you are the same guy who also argued that the Braves have a limited window to win, Walden closing in this “limited” time frame is regression.

          At the end of the day I’m not arguing we should pay Kimbrel an outrageous amount and I’m all for trading him if a reasonable deal can’t be worked out but you can’t possibly be comfortable with the idea of Walden closing…

          • Tim Bliss 1 year ago

            I never said to trade Kimbrel. I was just trying to lay out a case where the Braves might be forced to trade Kimbrel after the 2014 season and what options the Braves would have to play with as closer in 2015 if that were to happen. Kimbrel isn’t a free agent until after the 2016 season. I could see the Braves keeping him for this season and next and then trading him 1 year removed from free agency. By 2016 Jason Hursh could be ready to take over as closer. Who knows? Maybe someone else will emerge in that time.

            Now to address Walden. One of the reason’s Walden lost his closer’s role with the Angels was because of his back problems. The Angels wanted someone they knew they could count on to close every game without having to worry about a guy with a bad back. That’s the same reason Walden was traded by he Angels for Hanson, who had the injury concerns with his shoulder. Walden is a solid pitcher who could be a solid closer. He definitely has the stuff to get the job done at a high level.

            Most guys aren’t groomed to be closers. Closers tend to happen by accident more times than not. Mariano Rivera and Joe Nathan, for example, were not groomed to be closers. Both only ended up as closers after they failed to make it in the majors as starting pitchers. Trevor Hoffman ended up as a closer because he was a failed hitter while playing SS in the Marlins system. There’s all sorts of ways to find a solid closer. That’s one area where you should never spend money, especially a mid market team like the Braves.

  3. BraveCrowe 1 year ago

    I must add to my original comment that this deal may also help raise the level of play and willingness to play through injury for other players. The braves were willing to pay a lot of money for a consistently good bat and someone who appears to be a healthy guy. I may be out of my mind for thinking this, but I think a deal like this makes Heyward, Minor, Simmons and others try to raise their level of play to cash in. I think the Braves are going to try to sign all three of those guys to major extensions in the next three years.

    • k26dp 1 year ago

      I’m sorry, but this is absolute nonsense. Especially when is comes to the Braves, where players tend to play injured – often to the detriment of the team.

      • BraveCrowe 1 year ago

        No harm no foul, matter of opinion right? Just because you think differently than I doesn’t mean I am right or wrong right?

        My thought may be nonsense, just a thought however… Never claimed for it to be absolute truth.

        • k26dp 1 year ago

          You thinking differently than me doesn’t make you right or wrong. You’re wrong on the face of the subtext of your original statement.

  4. Nigel 1 year ago

    Friendly Freeman for President ’16

  5. bhambravesfan 1 year ago

    Goldy got 32MM so not even close

  6. Guest 1 year ago

    Good to hear!

  7. geauxbraves2000 1 year ago

    Locking up Freeman while entering his prime years, great move by the Braves! I’m really looking forward to next season!

  8. Danny Phillips 1 year ago

    Congrats to the Braves from a Nats fan. Wish we could have bought out some FA years with an extension to either Zimmermann or Desmond this offseason. Although, such an extension for either would have been a tad pricier in AAV. Should be a fun race this year.

    • NYBravosFan10 1 year ago

      It’s the same thing with your guys as it is with Heyward. Now all of piddly little arb contracts are out of the way so it leaves room to eventually talk about a large extension. Doesn’t necessarily mean that Zim or Desi is going to leave at the end of their contract, it just makes things a little more comfortable, know what I mean?

  9. Guest 1 year ago

    He is only set to make about 30MM over the next three year in arbitration so 20MM a year would mean he is worth around 30MM a year in his 3 or so free agent years. Why wouldn’t they wait and not extend him if that were the case. 25MM will get you Chris Davis in FA

    • -C 1 year ago

      $25M will not get you Chris Davis in free agency, as he’ll probably get locked up soon, and will likely get Cano years probably Cano-like money, if he repeats his 2013 performance.

      -C

    • Mike Query 1 year ago

      Your math is off, way off.

  10. kungfucampby 1 year ago

    He had three more years of cheap arbitration. What a bad idea for the Braves.

    • Kevin Sheets 1 year ago

      Since, we dont know the actual salary hard to determine if in fact if its good or bad. However, if you wait til players become FA you will pay more. As long as they didnt pay too much, this a great deal, IMO.

    • -C 1 year ago

      And the Braves will still get those three seasons at discounted rates.

      What a bad theory for you.

      -C

      • kungfucampby 1 year ago

        I don’t think you understand how arbitration works. There’s no way he’s clearing more then $16M in the next three seasons of Arb.

        • Kevin Sheets 1 year ago

          I dont know Arb that well. But What i do know is the lowest could get for the upcoming season is 4.5 mil. Assuming his salary stays that for the next three years, thats 13.5 mil. If he continues to improve, that salary should go up. Going over $16M in this scenario is not hard at all.
          Please, correct me if I’m wrong or if I’m just missing something.

          • -C 1 year ago

            Even if he doesn’t improve, he’s getting big raises from the $4.5M starting point. Arbitration typically goes in a 40/60/80 scale, in regards to player’s actual worth via production.

            So that puts his production value, roughly (because his actual production in WAR is far greater than either side’s figure, according to $/WAR) at $11.25M/season for the Braves or $14.375M for Freeman’s arb figure.

            Extrapolating out, without factoring any improvement, that’s $20.25M for his arbitration seasons via the Braves figure, or $25.875M for Freddie’s figure. But, as mentioned, his actual production merited a higher rate than either offered, The difference is not insignificant, as Fangraphs said he was worth $23.9M last year alone.

            It’s not remotely unthinkable to rationally believe that Freeman could have earned $30M+ in arbitration.

            -C

        • -C 1 year ago

          I don’t think you understand how arbitration works.

          He may have cleared almost six million this year, if he won the case. That puts him at about $9M in 2015 and $12M in 2016, for a total of $27M. Without any increased production…those figures could very possibly be low.

          Even if the Braves had won, he was still collecting $4.5M, $6.5-7.5M, and $9-11M, without any increase in production. That’s $20M in a worst-case scenario.

          I know exactly how arbitration works.

          -C

          • kungfucampby 1 year ago

            Ok, so you just paid $48M for three arbitration years when you yourself admit he’s getting $20M-27M at the most.

            Also you’re onboard for all the risk of him being a bust after that. All because he had a great season.

            You might know how arbitration works but I don’t think you know how money works.

          • -C 1 year ago

            You don’t know how baseball works, apparently. Maybe you should try golf.

            He’s not getting $48M in his arbitration years. He’ll get much less than that. Average annual value is not equal to the amount he’ll make in each individual season. Your argument is fundamentally flawed.

            And, yes, I’m on board with the risk, because Freddie Freeman is a stud. And he’s only 23, so he’s going to continue to be a stud for a very long time.

            I’d much rather give a 23-year-old $20M+ per season (well, he won’t actually make $20M+ until he’s in his late 20s, because he’s not making $16M/year in his arbitration years…had better state that twice for you) than a 35-year-old, or a 40-year-old.

            -C

          • kungfucampby 1 year ago

            Nope, my argument is still sound. Overpaid 3 arb years so you could sign him to 5 free agent years.

            All so you can lock up a 23 year old “stud” who had an untenable .371 BABIP year.

            I hope it works out for you.

          • -C 1 year ago

            So he’s getting paid $25.625M in arbitration. Not $48M, as you previously mentioned.

            So I guess they didn’t overpay for those arbitration seasons, did they??

            -C

          • kungfucampby 1 year ago

            Nope, my argument is still sound. Overpaid 3 arb years so you could sign him to 5 free agent years.

            All so you can lock up a 23 year old “stud” who had an untenable .371 BABIP year.

            I hope it works out for you.

        • TheTruth 1 year ago

          You overpay for arbitration years to get reasonable extension years. Freeman is definitely clearing $16 million a year if he hits the open market.

          • kungfucampby 1 year ago

            But he doesn’t hit the open market for 3 more years. He’s a young player who had one fantastic BABIP’y year.

          • -C 1 year ago

            Actually, he doesn’t hit the open market until 2022 now, which is why the Braves made the deal. It would be a huge blow to lose the team’s leading bat in three years, which is very possible. The closer a player gets to free agency, the less likely he is to sign a long-term extension.

            The BABIP concerns are just off. Will he have a BABIP of .370 again?? Probably. He’s just like Votto – he doesn’t pop out, and he hits a ton of line drives. That’s the blueprint for sustainable BABIP. And if he BABIPs .350 instead of .370, big deal. He’s still incredible.

            -C

  11. itstheduke 1 year ago

    Are you kidding me? No way the Braves would give him that much so soon. The deal is actually $1 mil in ’14, $10 mil in ’15, and $89 mil in ’16.

    • You kind of just stole bob’s joke and changed the numbers.

      • itstheduke 1 year ago

        I didn’t “steal” anything. It was a good joke, and I was just rolling with it, that’s all. I think you (and whoever else downvoted me) is taking things way too seriously. Lighten up!

        • In that case, “No way the Braves would backload his arbitration years like that! The deal is actually $98 mil in ’14, $1 mil in ’15, and $1 mil in ’16.”

          See? It just…. kind of… doesn’t work the second and third time around.

          Kind of like the Orioles and pending physicals, or Grant “Ball-Four,” or the Yankees roster being old.

          • Defiancy 1 year ago

            Hey now, the jokes about the Yankees roster being old never get old!

          • Yes, they do. It is classless and tacky to make fun of senior citizens who are trying their best. For the last time, leave the Yankees alone. You don’t know what it’s like On Golden Pond.

          • itstheduke 1 year ago

            Well actually you have the joke backwards now. It would be $1 mil in ’14, $1 mil in ’15, and $98 mil in ’16.

            Anyway if you don’t think my reply worked as a “take-off” on Bob’s joke, then you’re certainly entitled to your opinion. If anything I suppose I’m guilty of stealing Bob’s thunder a bit. Sometimes a good joke is just best left alone to appreciate. Point taken.

          • I was just hazing you a bit, duke.

  12. LazerTown 1 year ago

    $125/8 That could be a very good deal for the braves if he continues to keep growing. Even if it is higher price per year than he would normally get on the open market, which It looks to be about $20M per fa year, they don’t have to pay for the decline, which is key.

  13. Paulie Corleone 1 year ago

    I always giggle when I look at the Braves salary list and see B.J. Upton at 5 years $75m

  14. TheTruth 1 year ago

    7 yr, $106 million with a vesting option? I think that’s a good deal for everybody. 2014: $6 million, 2015: $10 million, 2016-2020: $16 million, 2021: Vesting option at $19 million? That’s my guess.

  15. You win, Bob. Clever and original.

  16. burnboll 1 year ago

    Seems like a good deal for the Braves. Assuming Freeman is at least a 3WAR player each year, he will be well worth it.

    And I think Freeman’s ceiling and also his most likely career path, is higher.

  17. WhoKilledTheRallyMonkey 1 year ago

    Freeman had an excellent 2013 no doubt but 8/125, assuming there are no club options involved, is big risk to take on a player who has only once posted an fWAR above 2.0 and did so with a .371 BABIP. Its a high risk high reward contract, hope it works out for the Braves.

    • burnboll 1 year ago

      Freeman’s pretty young, and IMHO if you look at his playing and not just at the stat line, it looks like he’s got solid approach, solid skills.

      He’s no big power guy, but I think he’ll be a very good player, could be making the All stars game a couple of times. No MVP, but could perhaps finish in the top 5-6 one or two more times.

      • WhoKilledTheRallyMonkey 1 year ago

        I can see it going one of two way. I think Freeman has great plate approach and his 2013 was remarkably similar to Joey Votto’s 2009 (who happened to have a .372 BABIP in 2009). If he continues to develop it will be a steal for Atlanta but if he reverts to 2012 Freeman it will not look so good.

        • Tim Bliss 1 year ago

          Freeman is a linedrive hitter who uses the whole field. That naturally will lead to him having a higher than average BABIP. Freeman compares very well to Mark Grace as a hitter, except Freeman has more power. Grace was a better fielder although Freeman’s not bad either.

    • JoeyBats13 1 year ago

      Agreed it is a big risk by the Braves giving him around $125 million based off one season with an inflated BABIP. Even without the inflated BABIP he’s definitely still an above average numbers with an impressive career wOBA and wRC+. However, is he a $125 million type hitter based on that one amazing 2013 season? Very unlikely.

      Plus it’s not like he plays exceptional defense as well, so if his production was skewed by his BABIP, then the Braves will probably regret this move quickly. At least he’s been durable though (600 PAs every season since 2011).

  18. Zach Ripple 1 year ago

    Can’t anything EVER go right for my Mets????

    Haha, just kidding. Freddie is phenomenal player and good guy. Good for him.

    • JoeyBats13 1 year ago

      you have Matt Harvey and David Wright dude!

      • NYBravosFan10 1 year ago

        they also have Ike Davis and had Jordany Valdespin

    • Tim Bliss 1 year ago

      Freeman is also a Mets killer. LOL. But like the other guy mentioned, you’ve got Wright and Harvey. Wow! I can’t stand the Mets but both Wright and Harvey are awesome players and I would kill to have them on the Braves.

  19. TheTruth 1 year ago

    I hate seeing people say that Freeman is bad defensively. He’s decent fielding the position, but he’s exceptional around the bag. He has a tremendous stretch and pulls throws out of the dirt like clockwork. First base and catcher are the two positions that I think you can’t judge by statistics, at least not entirely. You have to use the naked eye, too.

    • migueljablonski 1 year ago

      Seriously, Freddie “splits” saved a whole bunch of dugout throws last year. Doesnt get the defensive credit he deserves IMO

      • rundmc1981 1 year ago

        He’ll never get the def credit he deserves though he’s catching missiles from the planet’s best fielder.

    • diehardmets 1 year ago

      Those who designed UZR admit its deficiencies at C and to a degree 1B, so you are correct.

  20. Scott Krouse 1 year ago

    Thank God the Pirates locked up Andrew McCutchen when they did. They way teams throw around $100 and $200 million like Monopoly money now means he probably would have gotten 8/220 as a free agent.

    • -C 1 year ago

      It was a very wise move on their part. I was hoping the Braves could use his deal as a blueprint for Heyward, but it looks like that window is now long past.

      -C

      • rundmc1981 1 year ago

        No way Heyward would have signed an extension with all of the time he’s missed. I believe his camp feels like his ceiling hasn’t been reached to further maximize his value, which is why he wants to go to free agency, giving him more time to further evaluate his progress. Maybe then teams would have a better idea of his value when he hasn’t missed so much time due to unfortunate circumstances. Stinks for the Braves, but JHey has said for some time that he’s wanted to test free agency.

  21. LordOfTheSwings 1 year ago

    It’s certainly not a bargain, but I’m very happy to have Freddie locked up. His average may drop 20-30 points from last year, but he’s a very solid player.

  22. GirlWithCuriousHair1 . 1 year ago

    I like Freeman a lot, but this contract makes the one the Cards gave Craig REALLY look like a bargain now.

  23. gregdiehardbravesfan 1 year ago

    Thank u Wren cause I been waiting on u too spend some money on our young talent

  24. pft2 1 year ago

    The author does not seem to understand the time value of money. After 3 years 21 million will be about 17 million in today’s dollars assuming player salary inflation of 5%.

    • Jeff_Todd_MLBTR 1 year ago

      Obviously, you’ve never read any of the pieces in which I’ve discussed the importance of that concept. It is assumed that readers can apply those background principles to each of the many multi-year contract extensions that we cover here.

      Your comment also glosses over the key problem with trying to discount the future value. Is your 5% assumption correct? I have no idea, and no honest person can do better than give a range. So, the only way to report the terms of the deal is to do so straight ahead, as the numbers appear on the contract.

      • z3rogs 1 year ago

        I think all you needed to do was mention it in this article.

        You know that.

  25. Runtime 1 year ago

    Vernon Wells 2.0

    And before you start jumping up and down yelling that “BUT FREEMAN IS AN INFIELDER”… I’m saying that this just screams a similar situation. A young player coming off a couple of AS/MVP type seasons and gets a huge stack of cash in his arb years. Ended up not producing up to “projected value” and bounced around a couple times.

    I like Freeman, but if he doesn’t maintain production… he’s going to end up looking just like Vernon Wells in a few years.

    • Barrys_bonds 1 year ago

      Freeman signed an 8 year deal after his age 23 season. Wells signed his 7 year deal after his age 28 season. Maybe if Freeman signs a second long term deal after this one he’ll turn out like Wells, but I don’t see this one turning out that way.

      • Runtime 1 year ago

        Good catch. For some reason I thought VW got his contract at age 26.

        Also, why on earth would someone downvote this comment? I’m clearly admitting that I’m wrong… but I guess the Braves fans have just as much leeway as Chris Johnson and Brian McCann when it comes to bat flips and celebrations

        • BYOP 1 year ago

          Chris Johnson needs to double his efforts this year, unless the Braves have signed a replacement for McCann.

  26. mikedranger 1 year ago

    Mike Trout might still be in his last offseason of pre-arbitration but this must have him and his agent thinking we had to do better than this. If Freeman got this much from the Braves man Trout is going to go for the goldmine with his first extension if he gets one from the Angels. But Angels might wait til towards the middle of his arbitration years to get a deal done but Trout’s arbitration years alone are going to probably be close to record numbers if not records. But needless to say cool to see the Braves pay him. Hoping to see some big extensions like this down the road from my Cubs when their talent in the minors come up and play.

    • WhoKilledTheRallyMonkey 1 year ago

      Freeman is good, Trout is the best player in the mlb. Trout was going to demand a massive extension regardless of this deal

      • Tim Bliss 1 year ago

        I’ll be very surprised if Trout doesn’t land $200M. Especially given the deal the Yankees gave Ellsbury, who’s a subpar player compared to Trout.

        • -C 1 year ago

          I’d be very surprised if he doesn’t get $300M at a minimum on an extension, and upwards of $400M isn’t out of the equation if they really want a long-term deal, 10-12 years.

          Bear in mind, he’s going to absolutely crush the Arb1 record of $10M set by Howard Probably by $5M at least. He’ll be making upwards of $30M/year by the time arbitration is through.

          -C

  27. Jeff 1 year ago

    I’m ok with Freeman ending up a Rich Man’s Mark Grace.

  28. Jeff 1 year ago

    To me, Simmons is first priority, then Heyward, but I want all three locked up.

  29. WazBazbo 1 year ago

    Dear Craig,
    Sorry, but Freddie got whatever money we could have given you. Please have a season like last year so we can trade you at the deadline. Thank you!
    -The Braves

    • Tim Bliss 1 year ago

      Why would the Braves trade Kimbrel at the trading deadline in the middle of a heated pennant race? Makes absolutely no sense especially since Kimbrel isn’t a FA until after the 2016 season.

      • WazBazbo 1 year ago

        Because except in rare, rare occasions, closers are only good for a very few seasons, added to the fact that by next year, the Braves will have a tough time affording him whether they control him or not…

        • -C 1 year ago

          I don’t disagree with anything you said, but Kimbrel, if traded, will be traded in the offseason. There’s no way you take a guy like that off your roster midseason in the midst of a pennant chase.

          -C

          • bravo_84 1 year ago

            Agreed. If Kimbrel is traded mid-season it means something went terribly terribly wrong.

          • WazBazbo 1 year ago

            Point well taken, unless someone makes an offer that’s impossible to top in the off season.

      • rundmc1981 1 year ago

        It’s true, you get more for closers/RPs midseason when teams are trying to contend than in the offseason and they’re trying to build a roster. Considering RPs typically don’t get much return, but since elite closers (like Kimbrel) are rarely available, ATL could fetch a healthy return, not have to pay future salary which they could use to add someone at the Deadline, and get some prospects for the future. It’d be a loss, and a chance, but it could be worth it. Worst case scenario is getting a Jim Johnson-type return.

  30. Tim Bliss 1 year ago

    I hate when people say that Freddie Freeman can’t develop into a 30 HR a year guy because he hits too many line drives. One of the best line drive hitters I ever saw play also hit a lot of homeruns in his career. His name? Gary Sheffield.

    • $38216881 1 year ago

      Well, Sheff’s homers were line drives, so yea…I guess you’re right…lol

  31. Baseball on Earth 1 year ago

    Smart Move. Braves have bought up all of his prime years. Also, The Fun Police have promoted a promising young gumshoe to replace the departing Chief McCann.

    • CT 1 year ago

      I agree. The way Braves fans around the country supported him in the AS Fan Vote really showed his likeability, and a good one to keep around long-term.

  32. bravo_84 1 year ago

    I’m really glad we locked up Freddie long-term. He’s easily our single most consistent regular, but just form a numbers point of view this deal is not very team friendly at all. Figure his 3 arb years at a max of 30Mil (5.5, 9.5, 15), and you are looking at basically a 5 yr 105 Mil contract extension. 21M/yr looks a lot like market value for Freddie.

    That said I have no problem paying market value for a guy of his caliber. I just hope this is a sign that Liberty Media is going to let go of the purse strings a little. Having 1/5th of your salary tied up in a single player is not how the Braves have operated in the past, and this could signal the end for Kimbrel and also a definitive end date for guys like Heyward and J. Upton when their contracts expire after 2015.

  33. LetsGoBucs92122 1 year ago

    Nice move getting Freeman locked up long term

  34. erm016 1 year ago

    I think 30 hr’s is stretching it from him. 20-25, but high RBI’s and 2b’s is more important to me.

    • Kevin Sheets 1 year ago

      Agreed. Dont really care how he drives in runs, as long as he is doing that. Thats what this spot in the lineup is for.

  35. bjsguess 1 year ago

    One of the rare long-term arb deals that I think won’t pan out. I’m not a believer that the 2013 is something we can count on year in and year out. The guy was worth a COMBINED 2.5 WAR over his previous 2 years. Wouldn’t surprise me at all if settles in the 2 to 2.5 WAR annual range. In which case, this is a massive overpay.

    • bravo_84 1 year ago

      I disagree with you. I think Freddie has progressed every year he has been in the league. While a .319 avg may not be a reasonable expectation every year, I do think we will see him duplicate or improve upon that in future years all while keeping his average at or near .300 in most other years. I honestly believe at this point his WAR projection should have a floor of around 3.5-4 going forward in healthy seasons. So while I don’t think this is a deal that ends up looking fantastic at the end, I do think we will see it as a fair overall contract.

    • bravo_84 1 year ago

      I disagree with you. I think Freddie has progressed every year he has been in the league. While a .319 avg may not be a reasonable expectation every year, I do think we will see him duplicate or improve upon that in future years all while keeping his average at or near .300 in most other years. I honestly believe at this point his WAR projection should have a floor of around 3.5-4 going forward in healthy seasons. So while I don’t think this is a deal that ends up looking fantastic at the end, I do think we will see it as a fair overall contract.

    • rundmc1981 1 year ago

      You’ve been conditioned by all of these bad contracts that a player should be paid for what he has done and not what he will do. Get that out of your head. They’re seeing the progression and Wren believes he will continue to be that 2013 self, which is not hard to surmise. I’d rather take a chance and pay for someone with incredible ability who is refining it rather than paying for someone’s down years that has had a track record of doing it.

    • Kevin Sheets 1 year ago

      I understand your side, but remember that “previous two years” was his rookie and sophmore year. I think 2013 was suprising when you consider, who unstable the lineup was around him. If Justin Upton becomes consistent, BJ and/or Uggla do something, he could be even better. That, to me, is not far fetched. I would like to see Heyward leadoff and stay healthy. Cant wait to see that.

  36. $38216881 1 year ago

    I think they’ll get a solid 5 yrs out of him…of very good production, and a very decent BA. Ultimately, I think he’ll turn into more of a doubles hitter. He’ll hit more doubles, in the long run, and about 80-90 ribbies, 20-30 hrs. I dont see him having many more seasons of 100-plus ribbies.

    • rundmc1981 1 year ago

      Did you see his AVG w/RISP last season? Only Allen Craig was better. The man knows how to hit in the clutch. If he is only getting 80-90 RBI that means ATL is batting him not 3rd or 4th or no one is getting on base, which is the higher probability.

      • $38216881 1 year ago

        Cupla things…two of which you already mentioned. Yea, I think he will be a clutch hitter…and he’ll hit for avg. But if he’s going to be a perrenial 100 ribbie guy, that team will need tablsetters that are going to get on base enough to get FF those rbi chances..

        And I dont think Atlanta will have a guy like that, doing his thing, for several yrs…if this team had someone like a Kenny Lofton or a Brian Giles, in their heyday, then Im all in for Freeman becoming a bona fide, year in year out, 100 rbi threat. But that’s not gonna happen, over the course of 7-8 yrs….there are a very select few guys in today’s game that can be that type of hitter, on bad teams and good teams (Cabrera, A. Gonzalez, Bautista, Votto, Fielder, etc)

        He may very well have a couple of big rbi seasons, but you might also be forgetting how good the pitching is, and will be for some yrs to come in that division….he can’t hit what a really good pitcher dont want him to hit. And there are a bunch of SOLID pitchers in the East.

        • Kevin Sheets 1 year ago

          He just broke 100 RBIs last year w/o a bonafide lead off hitter.

          • rundmc1981 1 year ago

            Great observation. Looking more into it, ATL’s leadoff hitters ranked 26 of 30 in MLB in OBP (.305). And much of that was hot streak JHey had before getting injured.

          • Kevin Sheets 1 year ago

            Looking into his stats even more, Freddie was conisistent all year.
            Monthly RBI totals of 22, 19, 18, 17 & 21 (May-Sept). Thats going through BJ Upton, Schafer, Simmons and Heyward.

      • Phillyfan425 1 year ago

        Did you see his AVG w/RISP the 2 seasons before that?
        It was .219 in 2012 and .267 in 2011. He had a great season with RISP last year (a .443 avg), but that’s nowhere near sustainable (based on his .500+ BABIP). Yes, there is growth and development, but when you go 69-for-286 (a .241 avg with RISP) over your first two years, and then 58-for-131 the next year, that’s more luck than development.

        • Kevin Sheets 1 year ago

          Even if he doesnt keep hitting .443 RISP, the leadoff hitting should get better. I doubt they will be 26th in MLB, again.

  37. rundmc1981 1 year ago

    The big winner here: Frank Wren. He’s done well with trades, but bad free agent signings have really left a stain on the franchise. Aside from McCann’s 2007 2-year signing for $26MM, Wren hasn’t had another extension, so this was important for him to make a statement and actually secure any of the future Braves outside of bad signings (Upton). Though I like the contract, Wren still needs to secure a more team-friendly deal from some of the others (Minor, Medlen, etc.) to really show progress, though this is a great start.

    • Kevin Sheets 1 year ago

      Braves havent been good at picking hitters for awhile now. They are able to get pitchers pretty well but hitters on the other hand…not so much.

      • rundmc1981 1 year ago

        True, but honestly, good hitters are rarely available. They do overvalue power and undervalue OBP but even traditionally “good” hitters haven’t been playing well in ATL. Look at BJ Upton and Dan Uggla’s numbers before coming to ATL and since. Doesn’t make sense. Turner Field isn’t that one-sided and I can’t think that the environment is so intimidating that pro athletes just can’t have the same success they had previously.

        • Kevin Sheets 1 year ago

          I started to think of the hitters the Braves signed/traded for within the last 10 years that did well, all i can think of is JD Drew & Texiera, coincidentally two of the worst Braves trades even though they did play well.
          I think of the hitters that failed in Atlanta: Uggla, Melky, McLouth are the recent ones.

  38. bravo_84 1 year ago

    I know the market is changing, but 21.3/yr for his free agent years is pretty stout. Also is a little back loaded which scares me going forward. The bright side is if they spent this much on Freeman you would assume that payroll is going to start to tick up a bit.

    • Lennie Briscoe 1 year ago

      Freeman’s rise in annual salary per season coincides with the Braves moving into their new ball park in 2017. That’s where the payroll increase will come from. With our tight-pursed ownership at Liberty, they have said payroll will directly correlate with attendance. And with them putting this team on a self imposed salary cap for years, it will fluctuate it accordingly. But with any luck they’ll have been long gone and sold to someone who cares by then.

  39. UltimateYankeeFan 1 year ago

    Makes you wonder if the extreme backloading on Freeman’s contract is an indication that the Braves have NO intention of keeping him for the full length of that contract. They can keep him in his relatively cheap years then move him to another team to pay the disproportionate amount of his salary in the later years.

    • WhoKilledTheRallyMonkey 1 year ago

      or they just want to have the increased revenue from the new stadium before he gets expensive

    • Kevin Sheets 1 year ago

      There arent many players, who had a salary 20 mil be traded. So, i think rally monkey is right as the Braves are banking on increased revenue from new stadium

  40. Drew M 1 year ago

    This just makes Allen Craig’s deal look even better than it already did.

  41. Kevin Sheets 1 year ago

    100 million doesnt mean anything until we know years. IMO, 5 years/100 mil bad. 7-8years/100 Mil. Great

  42. CT 1 year ago

    Don’t think so. He’ll be a free agent at age 32, and the Braves have him for his prime years. By the time the big money kicks in, the Braves will be moving into their new stadium and hopefully increased revenues to pay the extra money.

  43. Tim Bliss 1 year ago

    Exactly. The new stadium had a lot to do with this deal. The Braves had to have a big time MLB, MVP caliber player to market, especially in advance of the new stadium in 2017. Freeman would have been a FA after the 2016 season. There’s no way the Braves could have taken that risk of losing him going into the first year in the new stadium.

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