2020 NL MVP Freddie Freeman is one of the top free agents on the market this winter, and he’s unsurprisingly drawing interest from a few of the game’s higher-spending organizations. The Yankees and Blue Jays are among the teams to have reached out to the five-time All-Star, reports Jon Heyman of the MLB Network (Twitter link).
Many around the industry expect Freeman will eventually re-sign with the Braves. The star first baseman has been a member of the organization for nearly a decade and a half, and it’d be a bitter pill for the fanbase to swallow if Freeman departs on the heels of Atlanta’s first World Series title since 1995. No deal has yet gotten done, though, with the Braves’ reluctance to offer a sixth guaranteed year reportedly the hold-up in talks so far. Heyman adds that Freeman had been seeking a guarantee in the $180MM range. Entering the offseason, MLBTR indeed projected a six-year, $180MM pact for the three-time Silver Slugger award winner.
It’s certainly not out of the question Freeman and the Braves will eventually bridge their gap. Heyman notes that some other organizations in pursuit are still skeptical about the possibility the 32-year-old leaves Atlanta. There’s no harm for clubs to reach out to Freeman’s representatives at Excel Sports Management in case the Braves aren’t willing to meet his ultimate ask, though.
Were Freeman to seriously entertain the possibility of leaving Atlanta, it stands to reason other clubs would get involved. Both Heyman and Ken Rosenthal of the Athletic have floated the possibility of the Dodgers making a run at the Southern California native. Los Angeles has already lost Corey Seager and could see Chris Taylor also depart. Signing Freeman while bumping Max Muncy over from first to second base would go a long way towards replacing the offensive production they’ve lost this winter.
Broadly speaking, any big-market team could poke around the Freeman market. The Jays have no need for a first baseman, with Vladimir Guerrero Jr. looking to have made the jump to perennial MVP candidate. Toronto could free up at-bats at designated hitter to accommodate Freeman, though, and other high-spending clubs could similarly move incumbent pieces around to make a signing work. Freeman is one of the game’s most consistently productive hitters, having been at least 32 percentage points better than average at the plate (by measure of wRC+) in each season since 2013.