Though the consensus across the industry remains that Braves franchise cornerstone Freddie Freeman will ultimately end up back in Atlanta, few expected Freeman to reach 2021 Opening Day — let alone the long-inevitable lockout — without a deal to keep the face of the franchise with the only club he’s ever known well into the backside of his career. Braves general manager Alex Anthopoulos is notorious for playing his cards as close to the vest as any GM in the game, but it would at least appear that the chances of Freeman joining friend, mentor, and recent MLBTR chatee Chipper Jones in spending the entirety of a Hall of Fame-caliber career in Atlanta have reached an all-time low.
Based on the most recent reports of the state of talks between the Braves and their sweet-swinging lefty (which came via USA Today’s Bob Nightengale and MLB Network’s Jon Heyman in mid-November), player and team are hung up on both length and value, with the Braves reportedly offering a five-year, $135MM pact and Freeman holding out for something closer to six years and $200MM. At the beginning of the offseason, MLBTR projected Freeman would ultimately land a six-year, $180MM deal, a prediction that roughly accords with how the market played out ahead of the lockout.
As MLBTR’s Tim Dierkes observed in December, while there’s no obviously ideal fit for Freeman outside of Atlanta, there’s also no NL team with an established incumbent at DH, hypothetically expanding Freeman’s market to NL teams with an entrenched first basemen — including the Dodgers (Max Muncy/Cody Bellinger), the Cardinals (Paul Goldschmidt), the Giants (Brandon Belt), and the Mets (Pete Alonso) — should the new CBA include a universal DH. But not every team has the payroll flexibility to add Freeman, of course, and few see either first base (the least demanding defensive position) or DH (a non-defensive role) as positions worthy of major payroll commitments, both of which Anthopoulos is likely relying on as he attempts to wait out his star.
Three teams with money to spend (the Dodgers, Yankees, and Blue Jays) were reported to have kicked the tires on Freeman ahead of the lockout, but Tim notes reasons to remain suspect with regard to each: in his seven years at the helm in LA, Andrew Friedman has never given out a deal longer than four years to another team’s free agent; the Yankees have more urgent needs at shortstop and in the rotation; and the Blue Jays would have to either transition Vladimir Guerrero Jr. back to third base (where his defense would detract from his bat’s enormous value) or ask their young star to give up his glove entirely after an MVP-caliber season at first. Still, each of these clubs have the financial flexibility to pry Freeman from the Braves, and there’s no telling how any team will react to the free-agent feeding frenzy likely to follow the end of the lockout.
Fresh off a World Series run few expected, the Braves and their deep-pocketed owner clearly could afford to keep Freeman on the books (the Braves are owned by the Denver-based corporation Liberty Media, whose chairman, John Malone, has an estimated net worth of $8 billion, per MLBTR’s Darragh McDonald). Because Liberty Media is a publicly traded company, the Braves’ profit-and-loss numbers are a matter of public record. The company’s 2021 third quarter earnings report (which runs from July 1 to September 30, roughly the second half of the regular season) records $222MM in Braves-related revenue and an operating profit of $35MM while running a full-season payroll of just shy of $145MM (per Fangraphs’ RosterResource) — a profit figure that does not include the club’s massive playoff gate windfall, the flurry of championship merchandise sales, or the lucrative explosions in season ticket sales and sponsorship deals that commonly follow a title.
To be clear, though he was characteristically cagy about the details, Anthopoulos has stated publicly that the Braves will run a higher payroll in 2022, a feat they’re likely to accomplish even without a fresh Freeman deal. Per Cot’s Baseball Contracts (which includes salary estimates for the Braves’ nine arbitration-eligible big-leaguers), the Braves have already allocated just under $129MM in salary commitments in 2022 and are still in need of at least one starting-caliber outfielder; of the four outfielders the team rotated in the playoffs (Eddie Rosario, Joc Pederson, Jorge Soler, and Adam Duvall), only Duvall is presently under contract, and no one is sure what to expect from superstar Ronald Acuña Jr. (returning from a major knee injury) or Marcell Ozuna (from administrative leave) – or, indeed, whether the latter will even remain with the club. Further, while Acuña has played solidly in several years in center field and Duvall managed it through the playoffs, each is likely better suited for a corner. One of the prospect trio of Cristian Pache, Michael Harris, and Drew Waters is likely the long-term answer in center, but none has yet proven himself ready to take over.
How the Braves choose to address this need (as well as for a possible veteran innings-eater to complement the stable of young arms they’ll slot in behind Max Fried, Charlie Morton, and Ian Anderson) remains to be seen, but both Soler (projected to land a three-year, $36MM deal) and Rosario (two years, $15MM) are live possibilities. Presuming roughly $15MM of 2022 salary to address these needs would put the club right around last year’s payroll figure, and a $30MM annual commitment to Freeman on top would push them significantly beyond any number with which ownership has seemed comfortable in the past.
These are heady times in Atlanta, of course — and Liberty Media’s balance sheet makes it clear it’s a bump they could profitably absorb — but there are baseball reasons to consider. Freeman will be entering his age-32 season in 2022, after all, and the Braves will want to do everything they can to avoid the sort of millstone deal given to other first basemen (e.g. Albert Pujols, Prince Fielder, Ryan Howard, Miguel Cabrera) in the last decade or so. Still, Freeman has been a model of consistency, posting an OPS+ of 132 or higher in every season since 2013, and recent years have shown no signs of regression; the first baseman followed an astonishing run to an NL MVP behind a .341/.462/.640 line in the small sample of 2020 by essentially replicating his career numbers (.295/.384/.509) in 2021 (.300/.393/.503) despite an uncharacteristically slow start.
The slugger’s batted-ball numbers also show no serious warning signs; though his line-drive percentage fell to 25.1% in 2021 (his lowest since 2012), his hard-hit rate (the percentage of batted balls with exit velocity of 95 mph or higher) of 46.2% matched his career number exactly. His 2021 strikeout (15.4%) and walk (12.2%) also fall on the right side of his career numbers (19.7% and 11.7%, respectively).
A six-year deal would take him through his age-37 season (by which point Father Time is likely to have made at least some progress), but the recent precedent in Atlanta is on Freeman’s side. Though he never played in more than 143 games after his age-31 season, Jones remained a productive Brave through age 40, even winning a batting title in his age-36 season and lodging his final two All-Star appearances at ages 39 and 40, all while playing a much more taxing defensive position.
How Anthopoulos will choose to play the Freeman situation on the other side of the lockout remains to be seen, but he’ll almost certainly have to rethink his aversion to a sixth year to keep his face of the franchise around. The pre-lockout market proved favorable to high-end players; Marcus Semien, who’s only a year younger than Freeman and has a much less extensive track record of high-end offensive production, pulled down a seven-year deal, for instance, and he isn’t even expected to be asked to cover the premium position of shortstop. Braves fans are currently riding high off their first championship since 1995, but losing the one player they kept around following their post-2014 teardown would surely let quite a bit of air out of the balloon. Landing either native Atlantan Matt Olson (who’d cost the Braves a pretty penny in trade capital) or Anthony Rizzo (projected for a three-year, $45MM pact, and on whom the Braves have apparently kicked the tires) might soften the blow, but neither has the professional or personal stature Freeman has earned in his twelve years as a Brave.
Find it funny, FF has been negotiating for over a year new on new contract. Yet, everyone keeps repeating that he’s returning to Atlanta. If it was guaranteed, he would’ve been there by now. He could end up anywhere by now.
The lockout makes it seem worse than it is.
In an antsy way sure, but I keep coming back to this point: I can’t remember a time where a player of Freeman’s stature and meaning to a franchise entered free agency in their prime and resigned. Those kind of players are almost always taken care of well before it gets to this point. Also, the reality that if Freeman didn’t play for the Brave there’s no way Atlanta would commit $150+ million plus to a first baseman in his 30’s.
If AA sees value he’s proactive in getting things done early in the winter. I truly think he’s not going to bid against himself and wait for other teams to see what he may need to match. Once the price has been set, it’s easier to match or shake his had as he leaves.
Fever Pitch Guy
“I can’t remember a time where a player of Freeman’s stature and meaning to a franchise entered free agency in their prime and resigned.”
Happens all the time, such as Ortiz in 2011 and 2012..
Please, Hammer. Don't hurt 'em.
Wasn’t there a lot of drama before Derek Jeter signed his last contract with the Yankees? I think he hit the free agent market and other teams got involved but he eventually stayed in pinstripes.
Please, Hammer. Don't hurt 'em.
I think similar things may have happened with A-Rod and Sabathia with the Yankees and Strasburg with the Nats. I’m sure there are a lot more. Stars re-sign with the same team after hitting free agency all the time. A lot leave, too, but it’s not like some extremely rare thing for a star player to reach free agency and then decide to stick around. I think most of them probably want to stay but they check out the free agent market just to see if another team will blow them away or get their most recent team to raise the offer. My guess is that’s what Freeman is doing right now. The Braves probably won’t make the top offer but I’m skeptical another team will make an offer so much bigger Freeman would leave the team he wants to play for. No one will offer Freeman more than 6 years and the Braves have already offered 5. They are probably going to end up at least pretty close to the top offer because I don’t think any team out there is going to be willing to throw something like $200 million at Freeman. Maybe $180 million but the Braves top offer should be not too far below that. If the Braves offer $150 I’m not sure Freeman leaves just to get that one more year. It’s not like it’s the difference between 5 years and 10 years.
Wasn’t stating stars simply resigning. Talking more about the homegrown, one franchise, iconic type player at the top of their game. A-Rod and CC were important Yankees, but this would be like Jeter entering free agency around 2006, not in the twilight of his career.
Ortiz was a good bit older at that point, I think 36 and 37 in those years. I don’t think he was being offered the sort of contracts from other teams that Freeman would be turning down.
Ortiz wasn’t a homegrown Red Sox player though. He played for the Twins before he ever went to Boston.
Brandons makes a great analysis. AA is a phenomenal GM. In my opinion I think FF is already overvalued at the offer of $27 M per season for 5 years. But to sign him for $33.3 M for 6 years will only handcuff the franchise for the last 3 and possibly 4 years of that deal.
Please, Hammer. Don't hurt 'em.
That’s a good point brandon-3. You also said “in their prime” though. I would say a players prime is typically between 27 and 30. Freddie hit his peak at 30 but was definitely worse than that last season. Freeman appears to be past his peak so I would say he is past his prime. He has some good years left but likely not as good as the last 2 years he had. People should expect Freeman to get worse every year from here in out based on his age. I would suggest Freeman being past his peak also means he is past his prime. When guys get signed “in their prime” it’s people like Manny Machado and Bryce Harper who did it at 27. Not Freeman trying to do it half a decade older at age 32. They really aren’t even close because that’s 5 of Freeman’s best baseball years already gone. Freeman is a little to old to be considered “in his prime” since it appears his best years are already behind him.
One player isn’t “all the time,” and Ortiz’s first contract was obviously a one-year deal.
If one widens the net to include player-encouraged trades, Goldy and Arenado are counterexamples to your claim.
Fever Pitch Guy
Yes Jeter was 36 in 2010 when he became a free agent for about 5 weeks.
I’m sure someone will say he doesn’t count because he wasn’t in his prime, even though the previous year (2009) he finished 3rd in MVP voting and two years after re-signing he was 7th in MVP voting.
But I’m sure they will say “prime” is defined by age, not performance. LOL
Fever Pitch Guy
That’s what I thought. Haha!
Okay that’s fine, so rather than “prime” you mean “late 20’s-early 30’s”.
Then yeah, it’s less common for the simple fact that many free agents don’t even reach free agent eligibility until their early 30’s.
But really, IMO you should try to stay away from the ageism. Judge players by their performance, not their age.
Another quick example, Mariano Rivera. He checks off everything on your long list of criteria.
Became a free agent in 2007 and the very next year had the most dominant season of his career:
Career-Best 0.665 WHIP
Career 2nd-Best 1.40 ERA
Insane Career-Best K/W Ratio of 12.83
Career 2nd-Best 4.3 WAR
I mean I could go on and on with all the career-bests and career-2nd bests after signing his free agent contract with the Yankees.
He was absolutely in his prime no matter what his age.
Best Screenname Ever
Papi signed one-year deals so he could remain with the Sox. He didn’t demand a 6 year sky-high deal.
Fever Pitch Guy
Yes Ortiz was 35 the first time he became a free agent after playing for the Sox. And he still finished Top 10 in MVP voting twice after returning on a free agent contract in 2011.
He was still very much in his prime, we all know how he ended his playing career.
Fever Pitch Guy
48team – Yes but I responded to his original statement, in which he didn’t mention having to be homegrown. He added that qualifier after I disagreed with his original statement.
Fever Pitch Guy
Gadfly – “All the time” was based on his initial criteria:
2) Meaning to a franchise
3) Entered free agency in their prime
4) Re-signed with same team
Creating all these new qualifiers like age, contract duration, homegrown, and wore only one uniform doesn’t suddenly make me wrong.
You want more than Ortiz?
Is that enough?
Failing to judge players by age is a big mistake. Decline can’t always be predicted, in fact it usually can’t be predicted by looking at performance. It’s utterly foolish to not judge a player by age in a sport where age is a huge factor. Once a player hits 30 rapid decline is inevitable and increases in likelihood with every year of age. Counting on outliers like Jeter is a mistake. Age is a huge factor necessary for evaluating future performance but fans always wanna just look at stats as if decline doesn’t so often come on suddenly. Decline is rarely neat and gradual. A guy in his mid thirties is more likely to decline quickly than not and stats won’t show this til it’s too late.
Fever Pitch Guy
Cosmo – My comment was in reference to basing a player’s “prime” on his age. It’s wrong to say a player is “past his prime” just because he’s in his mid-30’s.. I agree with much of what you said though.
FredMcGriff for the HOF
I still fully expect Freddie Freeman to resign with the Braves.
Freeman hasn’t been negotiating for over a year. He said unless it was done before spring training was over, it wouldn’t be addressed until after the season.
Exactly! I’m sure the reason why a new contract wasn’t reached last off-season and so far this off-season is because of the CBA ending. it’s hard to commit to a long term deal when you don’t know the rules for the next CBA
Regardless I think you gotta give him 160 million over 6 years just cause he’s Freddie freeman, and your the Braves and publicly can afford it
Please, Hammer. Don't hurt 'em.
160 over 6 wouldn’t be that bad. The team could basically write off the last year and make it for only $10 million. That’s not such a big deal. The problem is Freeman is demanding at least $180 million for 6 years. That sixth year being the top paid player on the team at $30 million verse taking a huge discount at $10 million is a big deal. To be honest I don’t think many if any teams are going to offer Freeman a 6th year and even if they do I doubt it will be for much more than the 5 year $150 million I expect the Braves to eventually offer. Not much point in getting a 6th year if it’s barely for more than the 5 year deal. That would chop his AAV way down just for one extra year.
It will be interesting if the Braves give Freeman that monster contract at his age. Coming off a World Series victory they can get away with letting him leave if they can’t get him at a contract that won’t hamstring them long term. 5 year and $30 – $35 million seems to be the reasonable top for a Atlanta offer. They need to focus on their core of Albies, Riley, Acuna, and Anderson. The smart play may be tying them up long term.
Albies and Acuna are already tied up long term. Riley and Anderson still have a few yrs left before FA
Didn’t realize they got a head start on Albies and Acuna. $24 million a year for both is a great deal.
I was thinking they would try to lock Riley and Anderson up long term and buy out arbitration. But looking at Albies and Acuna contracts keeping Freeman is more feasible. They just have to make sure a big contract is off the books by 2028 if they want to keep Albies and/or Acuna.
They’ll have 2 big contracts gone after this yr in Morton and Smith and Ozuna will be gone before those contracts are up. If Freeman signs for 6 yrs, his contract will be up by then as well. I believe they’re waiting to make sure Riley and Anderson weren’t one yr wonders to make them a long term offer.
Because there’s a lockout?
And he’s going to turn 33 this season (in Sept) and is asking for a 6 year contract. There’s also that tidbit.
So Tom Brady is 45
I thought there is a lockout.
That’s why no new contract.
Teams won’t sign Freeman as a full-time DH. He’s an excellent defensive 1B’man, so a team paying top price, which is the only way they get him, will do so planning to play him playing the field. The Universal DH will provide assurance that Freeman can “rest” there and be used there in the latter years of the deal.
AA is just waiting out and reading the market. The Dodgers aren’t giving six years. The Yankees need a SS and weren’t willing to pay a $30M AAV for one, so they won’t for a 1B’man. The Mets already have five 1B’man. The Red Sox top prospect is a 1B’man, etc. AA is waiting.
There are 30 teams. If the Braves don’t cave (and for the record, I don’t think they should, because I suspect Freeman is about to start declining) someone will make the offer. Whether that’s the Rangers, to complete their all-star infield, or the Padres after they dump Hosmer, or hell the Mariners or the Rockies or the Phillies or Cubs or Red Sox. All of them have the money. Hell one or two of them probably already have made the offer.
He’s won several GG’s, true (but they’re overrated, of course) and is -8.0 career dWAR and has ZERO Fielding Bibles.. Not quite “excellent defensive 1b.”
With that in mind, Freeman has never had a 7WAR season and only one 6WAR season. (2020 probably would have gone 7WAR as a full season.)
Compare that to, say, Goldy, with one 8WAR and 3 6WAR years.
AA’s playing it smart indeed. And correctly IMO.
6 years $180M seems fair but not sure if Freeman will accept it
The Club offered (allegedly) 5/135. Why not just negotiate a 5/150, perhaps with some final year incentives to hedge for the club and bonus the player? If you want to be like Chipper, then act like Chipper. Chipper always trusted that he had a home here that would pay him to play for as long as he wanted, and he never signed a career-contract to do so.
Chipper also redone his contract several times to help the Braves
5 yrs $150 also seems fair
I really don’t see any team meeting Freddie’s asking price of 6/$180M+. The Braves should offer him a front-loaded 6/$150M deal. $30M per year for the first 3 years and $20M per year for the last 3 years. They can add a player opt out after years 2,3 & 4 as well. While Freddie is one of the elite players in MLB, his age is a definite concern. Freddie chose to take an early extension and that is working against him now. Had he not done so, he would have become a FA two or three years ago and would have cashed in. Good luck to him; I hope he gets what he’s looking for but I really don’t see any team willing to meet his asking price.
AA doesn’t do opt out or no trade clauses
That early extension isn’t hurting him at all. He guaranteed a butt ton of money and security for his family at a young age and now he’s still gonna get a butt ton more money.
Albert Pujols and the Cardinals would like to talk to someone about “Sure Thing” re-signings of historic franchise cornerstone NL first basemen.
Pujols was a well-above average hitter in terms of OPS+ in each of his first 5 seasons in LAA, now his drop-off was astronomical, but there’s no reason to suggest that a 5-6 year contract for Freddie at the same age would hinder the Braves. We have Acuna and Albies signed to team-friendly deals, Riley isnt due for a massive salary upgrade for another 3 years, and a Dansby extension should only be around 12-15M a year. At the end of his contract is when money should actually be considered an issue and even then he wont command around the same $ amount
Keep in mind that the added “playoff revenue”, that is not included above, won’t be coming in for the next six years, only this year.
Wasn’t Pujol’s drop off due to greater use of shifting? That’s something FF has already experienced.
Sid Bream Speed Demon
Yeah, shifting between claiming to be 32 when he was actually 39.
So harsh! That said, there are indications Mozeliak wondered about Phat Albert’s age. And, that’s yet one more reason that the subset of “Best Fans in Baseball” who want him to sign Pujols now are idiots!
(Note: I’m a Cards fan myself who DOES think Pujols is either 1 or 2 years older than his stated age. But NOT 7!)
At least we actually know how old Freeman is.
Buddy the Beagle
Freddie will return even though it completely goes against GM’s operating principals. He is the biggest face of this franchise since Hank.
For Love of the Game
Chipper Jones would like a word with you…
Freddie Freeman hasn’t impregnated half of Georgia.
I get the sense that Atlanta prides itself so much on their ability to get guys to sign team friendly deals that any deal they offer someone is automatically an underpay even if it’s a very generous offer, unless it’s a very short term deal (like with Charlie Morton or Josh Donaldson) that they don’t want to give someone a long term market value pact.
Meanwhile, Freddie knows someone will give him market value and he knows this is his last big contract, which is why he pushed for 6 years/$200M- he probably asked for 6 years/$200M because he’d have settled for 6 years/$180M and it would have technically been a discount for the Braves but still have paid close to market value for Freeman’s services and Freddie would be paid through his baseball playing twilight years and not be mentally burdened with the thought of having left a significant amount of money on the table just to accommodate the team.
Freeman already signed a very team friendly extension and gave up 5 free agent years for an AAV of $23.75M, meaning he’s already left around $36M on the table for those free agency years alone *and* he very well could have signed a 10 year deal where he’d be going into year 6 of a deal paying him over $30M AAV already, so another 5 years on that kind of deal would itself have been around $150M- signed 5 years ago, in 2018.
In a sense, Atlanta is asking Freddie to ultimately take a total career discount for them of at least $50M and possibly as much as $100M in total career earnings.
Freddie asking for an extra $65M is really just him asking them to meet him in the middle on the team friendly extension he signed way back when and the free agency money he’d still be giving up overall by staying with Atlanta.
Freddie just wants 14 years/$335M and Atlanta wants that to be 13 years/$270M.
I don’t get why they don’t just meet him in the middle with a 6 years/$180M contract. Do they really want to save that extra $45M over 5 1/2 years to give up their franchise player? It does seem like serious penny pinching.
Freddie will sign for market value. He’s just going to find out that what he’s asking for is way over market value for a 32 yr old 1B. The current market just will not pay that much.
For Love of the Game
6 yrs., $180 million plus maybe a couple of club options with vesting features might ultimately get it done. Plus, that would allow the Braves to spread out the AAV for luxury tax purposes if they even need that.
If Semien (career OPS+ of 110) can get 7 yrs, $175 mill. to play 2B, Freddie Freeman (career OPS+ of 138) should be worth at least 6 and $180 mill. even if he’s one year older.
Braves are nowhere near the lux tax, and won’t be as long as Liberty owns them.
Your comp is ridiculous. Semien’s a middle infielder. Middle infielders who can hit like him are very rare, and it’s therefore (supply and demand!) very expensive to replace him. FF is a 1B and lots of 1B can hit. Maybe not quite as well as him, but it’s not nearly as hard, therefore not as expensive, to replace something close to his production, and probably in a younger body. That is the theory behind positional adjustments.
For Love of the Game
He’s been moved from SS to 2B. The defensive value of a good SS is indisputable, but there are a lot of good defensive 2Bs. There is also a huge difference between career OPS+ of 110 and 138. I’m not even expecting much of a premium for that difference. For you to say that 110 is worth more than 138 because of the difference between 1B and 2B, now that is what is “ridiculous.”
Re: Semien and his 2021 OPS+ — going from one of the worst offensive parks (per Park Factors) in OAK to the 2021 combined sites of Dunedin/Buffalo could account for quite a bit of that leap. Give credit to where credit is due, but to give Semien that contract in TEX should not be a basis for Freeman.
Best Screenname Ever
Semien set an all-time record for homeruns by a 2b. Freeman isn’t even the best-hitting 1b today – Guerrero Jr. nails that by a mile. Freddie will get a couple million more face-saving dollars from the Bravos and that’s it.
@best screen name ever….
Inclined to agree. (Need to throw in literally a few times to literally irritate the literal guys)
I look at Matt Olsen (agree about Super-Vlad too) at @$12m (admittedly you’ll have to trade an MLB top 30 prospect et al to get him) and the $30m p/a Freeman and think. Nah. Hard pass – or whatever you guys say.
Freeman as a surname is oxymoronic…. which of course goes against him too.
In a mid payroll team – can I justify 20% of that payroll on a D limited DJ Le Mahieu + a little pop?
Loved the Braves and their 2021 mojo and really enjoyed that they won it all. So nothing against them at all. Just think they could sign a “Voit” type (not being specific) for about 20% of a Freeman and use $24m elsewhere on an OF or two , & BP.and find 3/4 WAR that way.
I”d trust AA to get this one right and let him walk. Please flame away….
Best Screenname Ever
Which part of London you in? I favor Camden, though I’ve never been to Little Venice and would like to visit there.
“Freeman as a surname is oxymoronic….”
Yeahhh… gross, dude.
@ best screen name ever
I live in Tufnell Park which is about 1/2 mile from Camden. By utterly weird coincidence a client of mine runs a canal boat trip from Camden through the canals through Little Venice. Without irritating the mods – look up Walkers Quay on google. You get a reference to Sacramento and a reference to 250 Camden Rd. You need the latter!
It’s worth a trip. It’s a 3 course meal and in quick succession you go past the giraffe enclosure at London Zoo, the beautiful American ambassadors residence on the edge of Regents Park and Europe’s biggest mosque.
I hope you get this reply but mention high build zinc rich primer from Peter in Holloway and Andrew (Walker of Walkers Quay) might throw in a decent bottle. He’s an absolute gentleman.
Guerrero may be the best hitting 1B today, but he doesn’t (yet at least) “nail it by a mile.”
Re, “I don’t get why…” maybe here’s why ….
$30 million a year for a baseball player is just too much for some people to bear Ask any woman who works for a living. Ask small market and medium market male fans. Thank heavens, some of those people who think $30 million a year for a ballplayer is ridiculous also own teams.
Without a whisper of collusion, teams should individually decide to hold the line against those salaries. Teams should vote against ownership applications by hedge funders and others willing to pay for those (and even higher AAV) deals. They should also demand team salary caps or penalties to bring the top salaries down. Pay the rookies and minor leaguers more; pay the concessions workers and grounds crews more; lower the ticket prices for day games on the weekends; restore the values that made baseball family-friendly and non-elitist.
I’d be perfectly willing to lose an entire season to see the MLBPA broken — and believe me I’m no fan of Rob Manfred. Besides, if that year is this year, the Braves reign as World Champions will be extended!
Best Screenname Ever
With you 100% jimk. Rather than watching a clown car like the MLBPA disrupt the season because Poor Max only gets $43MM per, and Trevor Bauer will only make $40MM sitting out the year, and because rebuilding teams don’t have to sign players they don’t want in order to artificially drive up salaries – I’d rather see the MLBPA answer to the players who lose the best part of their careers over the MLBPA’s laundry list of Twitter proposals.
In 2023, there’ll be lots of present-day minor leaguers ready to come up, and lots of players ready to cross lines and come back. Adios MLBPA.
So it’s a cartel for the owners and it’s a cartel for the owners. And that’s it!?
And let’s have a salary cap (hard or soft) to protect that cartel.
Can I explain to you that $40 million per year salaries are signed off by ownership?
Not the MLBPA, not the player, but the owner willing to pay that salary?
I agree with all you say about minor leaguers, concession stand guys & girls and grounds crews. I agree 100% about making the game family friendly (let kids run on the outfield or have a warning track race from LF to RF) but breaking the MLBPA isn’t the answer. It’s not the players signing OFF the contracts you think are outrageous is it? It’s the owners.
The clownish owners of this world cause the problems you rightly describe and tickets/concessions are only the prices they are because it is what people are willing to pay for them NOT what they’re worth.
But saying you’re too rich (as a hedge fund owner/oil billionaire/magical merkin salesman) to own a team in nonsensical.
Ownership signed this lockout not the players and to willingly submit to that ownership is ludicrous.
6 years at $180,000,000 is no discount. I think that the 5 year $135mil gives him the highest 1st base contract in history. Then they could tack on a player option for the 6th year @. $15 mill. So if he gets to the 6th year with his choice of being a free agent or.taking the $15 mill he can base his decision on what is 5th year looked like. If he accepts the 6th year the Braves don’t get hamstrung with a really bad 1 year contract.
AA is a pretty smart guy. I think he planned to use the lockout the whole time knowing FF would wait it out and find the best deal. It’s a dangerous game of chess on both sides but the Braves have all the leverage; coming off a World Series win they won’t bid against themselves. Let FF find the best deal on the market and then the Braves can match or slightly top or just let him walk.
Let these bozos figure out the lockout then he will get paid…. Nice article doofus.
The smart decision is to let him walk and trade for Olsen. May not be popular but in 3 years they will be glad they did it because FF will not be worth whatever contract he signs by that point.
For Love of the Game
Sign Rizzo and apply the savings to locking up the youngsters.
Agree. That’s the right play. Everyone always worried about the lost prospects, but most of those guys don’t pan out anyway, and the Braves should be in it to win it (again) before their core gets too expensive.
said it be fore and i’ll say it again: letting Freeman walk to turn around a trade for Olson is not wise, because if Olson gives you the production youre trading for, he is going to cost more to sign long-term in a couple years than Freeman would cost now. So you would essentially be blowing up your whole farm in order to secure the difference in production between ’22-’23 Olson and Freeman, only to have a more expensive version of the same Freeman decision to make all over again, just sans farm next time. And that’s *best* case scenario.
Spare Tire Dixon
I agree. The “just trade for Olson” idea sounds great…for this year. When you consider the cost to lock him up in a year or two, the Braves would likely be facing an even higher pricetag than they are looking at with Freeman at this point. Not to mention the cost in prospects just to get Olson in a Braves uniform
Olson is controllable at a reasonable rate for 2 years – and if those years are anything like his 2021 career year in a large home park (OAK) where he put up a higher WAR than Freeman in a hitter’s park (ATL) – he’d be worth the prospects that most likely have no place in ATL. Even with a big 2nd arb year jump from a great 2021, he’s still going to be a presumed savings of ~30-35M total over those 2 years. Olson also had a better 2021 than Freeman (fWAR of 5.0 vs. 4.5) in a pitching-friendly home park (OAK) vs. Freeman’s hitter’s friendly (ATL) home that was tailor-made for his swing.
Sure, he’ll cost in prospects, but ATL doesn’t have many options to upgrade from Freeman AND some of those prospects might actually depreciate in value over 2022 (similar to Pache/Waters in 2021) not playing on the ML roster, for which ATL only has so many spots. Even if ATL doesn’t re-sign Olson in 2 years, you have 2 years of competing possibly for another WS title that could negate an extension (or make it possibly easier for an ATL product that wants to continue to win at home in Olson). Point is: Olson is worth far-more than the prospect package he’d take to get him, extension or not.
@RunDMC I agree on your final point. However, my point is you have to compare 2 years of Olson + the next few years of a mystery 1B + a blown up farm, compare that up against a slightly team-friendly 5-6 year deal to keep your perennial MVP face of the franchise clubhouse leader for the same time period. Locking up Freeman for 5-6 years is easily the highest floor, lowest cost ($ + prospects) move for a team still brimming with ceilings and upsides yet unreached.
I appreciate the feedback, but I think you’re omitting the potential falloff of the back part of Freeman’s contract and giving too much credit with the prospect package going back. ATL’s farm has too much MLB-ready talent and not enough positions at the major league level for a contending team, while not having enough at the lower levels (due in part for the loss of int’l picks, decreased int’l activity last few years, etc.). Pache/Waters stock both fell in 2021, in part, because they weren’t ready when we needed them, and we couldn’t give reg playing time for them to mature while competing for playoffs at .500 level most of the season.
@Run, 2 different points here: 1. given the stock drop on some of ATL’s younger top-top prospects and with their other top-tops moving into reliable MLB regular/star range, do you think there is even a package that nets Olson without losing someone like Soroka/Fried/Riley/the guy your fanbase really doesnt wanna lose (which is the likely starting point in any Olson trade). And 2, yes, I’ll give you that I’m not putting enough stock in a Freeman falloff late in a 6-year deal, but I honestly see him aging more like a Goldschmidt (2 years older than Freddie) or Votto into his mid 30s, than a Miggy. Do you see any of the common red flags of an aging 1B cliff drop in Freddie’s game? I really do not, other than he may have peaked in the power department, but his game was never deeply reliant on that aspect either. Good talks tho, happy to have honest actual baseball convos on this site again!
They have enough in their farm to not even need to say no to unavailable core pieces like Riley, Fried (who’s not that much cheaper than Olson considering Fried is about to go through Arb 1 compared to Olson at Arb 2). Soroka has huge medical red flags that I doubt a team would value him at an amount in a trade package that would make ATL move on from him…though there’s significant risk.
Re: FF red flags — I seriously question his swing long-term. You shouldn’t teach that swing to anyone and kudos he makes it work – truly – but I really wonder about his production when those muscles aren’t moving as fast and in-sync to get the kind of swing angles. He def will age better than Miggy, etc., but the fact that a deal hasn’t gotten done makes me question what his ask really is. I’d rather err on the side of caution considering how 35+ y/o 1B have looked.
There is no way fried/Riley/soroka is a starting point. These are not major league ready prospects, they’re basically established major league players in the above average to all star range. No other team will offer a player with that degree of major league success and control for a two year contract.
Additionally, Oakland is highly motivated to move him. With their financial status and likelihood of contention, they are not going to shell out 30+ mil in arbitration money to play him to likely finish 3rd in the division; they just don’t operate like that.
Other teams will be in on Olsen and they will offer substantial prospect packages. I bet to get him the Braves would have to part with 1 blue chip prospect, one very good prospect, and 1-2 further off fliers. Prob something like pache, muller, and two younger guys if I had to guess, and even at that point Oakland would have to consider similar offers from other teams.
That being said, I agree that I don’t think Cabrera and pujols are apt comparisons for freeman. Those deals were way longer and more expensive at similar age points. Freeman will certainly experience age related decline, but we’re not talking about paying record setting money to a 41 year old, we’re talking about reasonable money to a 37 year old. And in all likelihood we’re not talking about a sink cost of paying that money for 5 years of post decline ineptitude—if Freddie ages as expected you’re talking like 1-2 years where he’s making less than he’s worth…
@los_leebos It would be worth it if they win another World Series in ‘22 or ‘23 but that’s a big “if.” At that point they could get away with letting Olson walk as well because there would be another trophy. Atlanta has been competitive for the majority of three decades but trophies are still lacking for the most part.
@48-team MLB Signing Olson won’t justify the trade trophy or otherwise. Trading for Matt Olson does not have beyond 2023 in mind.
The championship window is now. Who cares about a huge division title streak if it ends with only one championship like last time? I’m not saying I want to be like the Marlins but the Red Sox, Giants and Cardinals all had better overall runs than the Braves and all of those teams had an occasional down year.
Spare Tire Dixon
In the same 3 years, they will either have to pay up to retain Matt Olson or find a replacement they don’t have in the farm system currently. Trading for Olson is not “smart” if it costs the farm system and an even bigger contract in a couple years
Trading for Olson costs no contract. Trading for a player is not accompanied by magical Harry Potter spells that force teams to give out big contracts.
@thelegnedary But if you don’t lock up Olson, you are betting right now that the difference in production of the next 2 years of Olson’s and Freddie’s careers will be worth your whole farm, which it obviously will not be. Unless you have Freddie right now in “fall off a cliff” territory, which i dont think he’s there and he might just have a game that actually ages well into his 30s: think less Miggy and Prince, and more Belt and Goldy (who are both older than Freddie now).
@los_leebos That’s true even if you do lock up Olson. Trading for him a day signing him are two separate transactions.
@legendary In my mind, it’s a bit of the “looking a gift horse in the mouth” situation: Signing Freeman now gives you near certainty (as certain as these things come) of 5-6 decent years, with maybe one crap year and one MVPish year mixed (think Joey Votto’s last 6), and you probably get it on a slightly team-friendly deal. If you let Freeman walk, blow up the farm for Olson, get 2 years of Olson then he walks and you have no farm and no reliable 1B for the next 4-5 years in which you wouldve had an aging but still obviously pretty good Freeman, with just the difference between Freeman’s 22-23 and Olson’s 22-23 to show for it. But if you think Freddie’s going to fall off a cliff soon, then your logic is sound enough. And maybe I’m just MLBTR’s Freddie Freeman Apologist-in-Residence
If you want a long term solution just pass on Olson.
Since when is $30MM per a team friendly contract?!
Him and goldy sharing first base/dh duties would be amazing. Cards will never spend that much money on 2 aging first basemen, especially with a couple offense first prospects getting close to the bigs. One can dream though.
On my Cardinals board people keep clamoring for them to sign Colin Moran. I don’t get it. He is terrible defensively and not very good on offense. Run with Yepez/Gorman platoon with Donivan available and Jordan Walker tearing up minors and also 1st/3rd/DH. *Freeman is available* Ok, I’m fine throwing 30 mill at Freeman to DH and play a game a week at 1st or 3rd. Gorman who? But seriously, please no Colin Moran. (All this dependent on NL DH)
The note about a “deep-pocketed’ John Malone is an irrelevant red herring. He is not the owner of the team… he works for the company that does. In fact, while the Liberty Media corporate board might have opinions or call someone (Terry McGuirk) onto the carpet if they believe something is being run improperly, John Malone otherwise has nothing to say about the day-to-day operation of the team… never mind that he doesn’t write checks out of his own personal investments to boost payroll.
For Love of the Game
Don’t kid yourself. John Malone is a heavyweight and he controls the entire Liberty Media enterprise. He and Greg Maffei run everything there.
It doesn’t matter if he does or not. Owners don’t subsidize teams from their pockets, whether those pockets are personal or corporate. Teams spend what they earn, minus some profit. Malone could command that they spend closer to their bottom line, but that won’t make much of a difference to be honest. This is not his decision, nor would he want it to be, and he probably thinks about the Braves once a month at most. Dude’s not even a baseball fan.
The note about a “deep-pocketed’ John Malone is an irrelevant red herring.
I hate the political aspect of these articles, that is, the owner is rich, so he should reach into his personal savings and give Freeman $40M of his own money. I like Papi and Pedroia, but I wasn’t reaching into my pocket to pay them. Neither should the owners.
Does anyone suggest that, because Freeman is extremely wealthy, that he should reach into his own pocket and give all the Braves’ rookies another $500,000?
Think that ship sailed when they disrespected him by extending him a qualifying offer /s
They did that so they could get the draft pick back. Any team would do it. That wont affect his free agency whatsoever.
According to Dodgers fans on here Re: Clayton Kershaw QO’ing a franchise icon is disrespectful
Different situations. Freeman looks to have several years left. Kershaw may have 40 starts left in him for his career.
Same situation. Both are respected, tenured franchise icons.
Best Screenname Ever
Lots of guys looked to have several years left heading into their age 33 season.
It’s not disrespectful, it’s the smart way to do business. The team wins either way by either getting the pick or the player and the player wins either way because they either guarantee a big payday for a yr or go get a bigger contract somewhere else. It’s only disrespectful if you try to rationalize with feelings instead of your head.
@Tomahawk Takeover Hey don’t look at me I’m just going off the logic of Dodgers fans on the Kershaw article.
John Malone is one of the smartest guys out there, period. He might be willing to overpay a bit for a valuable asset, but he’s likely not going all-in, and a WS run reminds the fans that it’s more than just Freeman getting there. You could see a five year deal with a 6th team option/chunky buyout, but I don’t think the Braves want to see too much of a 2WAR Freeman. This should be interesting
For Love of the Game
Everyone points to bad contracts like the Miguel Cabrera deal. If not for the impact (literally) his weight has had on his knees, Cabrera would still be a good hitter with power even in his late thirties. Fans still love him. Is he worth $32 mill.? No way. But having Freeman through age 38 and turning 39 at the end of a six-year deal wouldn’t be the end of the world as long as he doesn’t suffer devastating injuries like Cabrera did. Cabrera is still the face of the Tigers and Freeman should be a Brave for life as long as a reasonable deal can be hammered out.
We basically agree with each other….the hitch is the injuries. If he;’s healthy and productive (albeit at a lower level of performance) when he hits year six, the Braves won’t suffer too much. If not, and the 6th year is a team option with maybe a $10M buyout, the sides can negotiate again or decide to part. Cabrera was one of the best hitters of our time, and a certain HOF, but three of the last five seasons his slugging percentage has been under .400. Atlanta would want to avoid that.
For Love of the Game
Agreed. Cabrera was other-worldly until a series of devastating injuries starting in his age 34 season. He’s now a league average hitter going into his age 39 season for $32 mill. Yikes! But I think Freeman will age better than that.
It’s also likely that Miggy is a few yrs older than he says.
Article should read “How can Freddie Freeman save Face?”
Freddie doesn’t need to save face. He’s free to do as he pleases.
Best Screenname Ever
Exactly stymeedone. I think it ends with the Bravos kicking in a couple more million at the end to avoid Freddie looking like he got beat.
The Braves need money for Riley and Fried and Matzek and Minter.
Yeah because all that money Matzek will get could prevent signing….Freddie Freeman?
The question is do you want to spread that money among several players, or just one?
The five-year, $135MM pact which the Braves have offered seems about right to me. That’s an AAV of $27 million per season. If Freeman thinks he’ll be worth more than that in 2027, let him then do what he did this year: test the market!
Fans understand that their team’s future depends on keeping the top salaries low enough to allow for team-friendly extensions for young stars, e.g. the Albies and Acuna extensions. Austin Riley, Max Fried, and Ian Anderson are in the wings for such deals, and the money available to them for 2027 depends on what we’d pay now for what will be an aging first baseman then.
As for the Braves’ “deep-pocketed” owner, anyone who lived in TCI cable territory when Dr. Malone built his fortune in the 1980’s-90’s knows he was a tight spender who saved resources until breakthrough broadband technology, which he fully understood and anticipated, was ready. As a Braves fan since 1958, I’m sure he is still a prudent, long term thinker and encourages his people to be the same: willing to endure short term complaints in exchange for long term domination.
It’s almost comical how when it’s the Braves and AA about to let a face of the franchise walk, it’s just smart business.
But if the Mets were in the same boat you’d all be on here jumping down their throats. Go ahead, pretend like that wouldn’t happen.
Winning and success comes with its perks
Braves fans would be jumping down the throats of Mets moves not made during a lockout? If that’s the case, why aren’t they doing so now?
The Braves have actually won a championship more recently than 36 years ago.
Well, you already said it: it’s because the Mess are “comical.”
David Wright-size extension is exactly what AA is trying to prevent. Any Braves fan jumping down the throat of a GM that just brought home the first title in 26 years to the franchise is off their meds, especially after the game of chicken AA has played with Donaldson & Ozuna and retrospect in both cases.
I wasn’t aware the Mets had a face of the franchise player. Degrom is hurt. Lindor was a flop in his 1st year. Conforto already fled. Alonso has been inconsistant. Who do you feel is the face of the Mets?
Bonilla, of course.
Only the LOLMets can turn a bad financial investment into a Groundhog Day-like annual celebration of mediocrity & financial carelessness.
Best Screenname Ever
Mean. Funny, but mean.
The answer is obvious.
Sid Bream Speed Demon
Does any team have a fanbase with a more fragile ego than the Mets? I get that being little brother in your own city for so long must suck, but geez, you don’t have enough actual insults to complain and whine about so you are now crying about hypothetical ones?
Because they see Miggy, Pujols, etc. and want to avoid the same situation a few years down the boulevard.
Rendon also says hello.
No, we know Freeman’s age is correct. We know Pujols and Miggy are older that they say.
Laughed out loud at “the backside of his career “.
Someone please respond with the punchline:
FF reminds me a lot of Fred McGriff. Similar body type, similar profile offensively. Braves made a mistake letting him walk years ago. He aged very well, productive into his age 38 season. Hopefully the Braves do the right thing and sign him to a reasonable deal. I’d have no problem giving him 6 years.
They made a fair offer. If he walks oh well.
Sid Bream Speed Demon
They should offer a front loaded 6/180 deal with a $5 million dollar buyout of a 7th year that would pay $15 million. Pay him $50, $40, $30, $20, $20, $20. That way you are paying for Prime Freddie. Kick in a limited no trade if needed.
I’ve had similar thoughts. Sign him to a 2 year $80mm deal so that he can announce his record AAV. Then announce an extension to that deal going to 4 additional years pulling the overall value to $160mm, Include some MVP bonuses that give him $180mm upside over the term.
Front loading deals cost teams more. They’re committing $180M regardless, but they’re losing the benefit that the purchasing power of the dollar decreases yearly. $30M six years out is worth less than $30M today.
Sid Bream Speed Demon
I get that but $30 million now while still having Albies and Acuna at a good price while ensuring you wont have to pay an old or ineffective Freeman $30 in six years is worth it, it’s the smart way to do it. Pay on your assets early.
I don’t think there is anything wrong with a 5 or 6 year deal at big bucks. Although he’s not quite as durable, Freeman lines up with Eddie Murray for his career.
In Murray’s age 32 season he finished 4th in the AL in HR and hit .284 in a lineup with basically no protection (1988 Orioles – C Ripken hit in front of him most of the time). He wasn’t quite as good at age 33 switching leagues but still above average, then had 159 OPS+ season at age 34 and a very productive season (28 HR, 100 RBI, .285) at age 37 on another terrible team after two more years where he was merely above average. If this is the template, the Braves make out and Freeman is well worth the cost.
8 or 10 years is asking for it. though…while Murray had an excellent age 39 season we’re into highly unusual territory.
All I know is, I’ve started buying Dodger blue memorabilia. Ordered myself a Dodgers #5 jersey just yesterday.
The heck you have. Why waste money on something that may never occur? You just have money to burn?
Either the sticking point really is the sixth year or AA thinks that paying Freeman that much would hinder the team’s ability to compete in the coming years.
The latter seems crazy to say, but the Braves aren’t suddenly a big-market team now that they won the World Series. People think they should be because Atlanta is supposedly the 10th-largest market. But Atlanta isn’t a traditional sports market. It never really has been.
Fever Pitch Guy
sam – The Braves had the 2nd-best regular season attendance in MLB last season despite losing 3 home games. Small market teams can’t pull that off.
The minute they had the All-Star Game ripped away from them, I knew they’d win the World Series. Just like Houston right after Harvey, and Boston right after the marathon tragedy.
Karma, man …. karma.
You sure you know what karma is?
Easy to say since it’s not my money but I say pay the man! He’s a great hitter, the face of the franchise and just helped you win the World Series. That said, the Braves are owned by a corporation and not an individual or family; therefore, they are more likely to look at this through a lens without emotion. And if you look at this from the standpoint of not paying for past performance, then you can start to understand why they are reluctant to pay for decline years. I say he eventually will sign with Atlanta though it is no longer as shocking of an idea that he could go elsewhere. There are probably multiple teams willing to pay him what he wants.
Freddie turns 33 next September. I don’t think you pay a first baseman in his mid to late 30’s 30-35 mil a year for 6 years. I think Goldschmidt is a better player (barely). I don’t see why Freeman thinks he should get 5-10 million more per year than Goldy. The Braves already gave Freeman a fantastic contract at a very young age.
Either Freeman signs for 5/140 or I think the Braves should move on. Just my opinion.
Spare Tire Dixon
I agree that Goldschmidt is the closest comparison. The fact that Freddie is the face of the Braves franchise should not increase his price tag, yet it probably will. Objectively, 33-year old Freeman is probably worth a Goldschmidt-type deal. The team cannot afford to take a fan’s sentimental “pay him whatever he wants” type contract.
Freddie is better than Goldy. Goldy’s contract was a few yrs ago and the market has increased. So yes, Freddie @ 30 mil a yr is about right.
First of all, your logic is silly, he turns 33 in September? At the end of the year? So what. Goldy is 2 years older than Freeman and has never won an MVP. Freddie has won an MVP. They are 2 years apart in free agency, what was good for Goldy 2 years ago, isn’t the same for Freddie
Goldschmidt signed his contract in 2020, 2 years ago and contracts have not gone up since then.
After 11 seasons Goldschmidt’s WAR is 51. After 11 seasons Freeman’s WAR is 43.
Not rocket science here.
Offer him $150M/5 and see if anyone tops that offer. I doubt anyone will. Like the article says, there are no likely teams out there for him. As a RS fan, if the NYY wanted to offer him $180M/6, I wouldn’t be at all displeased.
IRT to the folks that think he deserves to be a Brave forever, I don’t think it works that way. People work for companies for 40 years, but aren’t going to get a 20% raise because they threaten to leave. I hung out at the same pub for 20 years, and I didn’t get 20% more buy-backs, or tip the bartender another 20%. And I’d say the same for any of the players on the RS.
Freeman can’t rely on sympathy to squeeze another 20% out of the team.
FredMcGriff for the HOF
My dad worked at his railroad job from 18-60 years old. 42 years.
A team like the Yankees, Mets, Dodgers, et al, would have to offer more than 30/ yr to equal 30 from the Braves. Teams in high tax states, and cities have to offer more to make the value of the contract the same. It why a hard cap will never work in MLB.
That’s cute that you think WAR means anything
How many MVPs has Goldy won? Thats right, none. Hence why Freeman is worth more
2021 Goldschmidt 6.1 WAR
2021 Freeman 4.7 WAR
Both are great 1st basemen. The 2 best in the game in my opinion. But don’t tell me Freeman is better when Goldschmidt has more Gold Gloves, more Silver Sluggers, more home runs, a significantly higher lifetime OPS, a higher lifetime OPS+, higher lifetime wRC+ and a nearly 20% higher lifetime WAR with 360 fewer lifetime plate appearances than Freeman.
Goldy also played most of his career in a high octane lineup in a big time hitters park. Freddie can’t say any of that.
Arizona Diamondbacks a high octane line-up?
Plus the 2020 and 2021 St Louis Cardinals line-ups were terrible.
At least Yankees and Red Sox fans know their facts.
When Goldy was in Az, yes, high octane. Notice I said most of his career. Reading is hard for some people.
Spare Tire Dixon
While I appreciate the team being responsible with future funds, I think the likelihood of a NL designated hitter should remove some of the trepidation in a Freeman deal. No one wants a Pujols/Fielder contract, but Freeman’s bat is a little different and his ability to transition to DH later in the deal makes this worth it. He’s still great, a face of the franchise, and I don’t see an obvious replacement, unless the Braves want to part with top prospects for Atlanta-born Matt Olson.
That presents a whole other issue: Oakland is going to demand quite a lot and then ATL is faced with the same issue soon enough–signing Olson long-term. Olson is younger and could likely demand Freeman money by the time he approaches free agency. Are the Braves going to part with top prospects, then shell out a massive contract anyway? Or just re-sign Freeman and have him retire in a Braves uniform?
Spare Tire Dixon
If they cannot get this done, the Braves have to overwhelm Oakland with a trade proposal for Matt Olson. Then extend Olson immediately or risk this same situation in a couple years when Olson is likely more expensive than Freeman would be now. (Inflation, not necessarily because Olson will be better than MVP-level Freeman)
As I said, it won’t matter if they extend Olson as long as they win a World Series while he’s (potentially) here. Players leave. The idea is to accomplish the goal while they’re here, not to keep all of them here forever. If the Braves had won a World Series with Texeira then that trade would be viewed much differently. That team wasn’t that close at that point though. This team is.
Do they have baseball in France?
Maybe because of the lockout?
Very comprehensive piece. Thanks.
6 year $165MM
$30MM for year 1-4
$25MM for year 5 with incentives worth $5MM
$20MM for year 6 with incentives worth $10MM
If he is still a productive hitter in year 5 and 6, he still makes a total of $180MM. If he is not, it only cost us $165MM for 6 years. Let Freddie bet on his own performance if he thinks he is worth $30MM in year 6.
Let me say, I am a huge Freddie fan. My daughter that played fastpitch travel ball for 12 years thought he was one of the greatest players she has ever seen.
One last thing, I am as much of a fan of Freddie’s character as his on-field performance. I have seen him spend more time than anyone talking to kids and signing autographs before the games. He is great person on and off the field. But that doesn’t mean we should overpay.
Seven years/$190 million
Years 1-5: $30 million per year
Years 6-7: $20 million per year
Deal needs to get done. It’s more than just the obvious talent. Like Murph then Chipper later on, Freeman is a Brave and deserves to remain one.
Dale Murphy didn’t stay with the Braves his whole career.
Get to the table!
Because he’s signing with the Mariners or Yankees.
Yankees will not pay that for Freeman. They have bigger needs than 1st base. They have a starting rotation, SS, and C to fix while also paying Stanton a ton of money to sometimes DH.
Obviously you don’t live in NY or you’d know that more than likely, they’re probably going with a cheap short term option at SS and wait for either of their 2 guys in the minors to arrive next season or 2024…..which means that 1st base is definitely a position they are looking to improve dramatically with either Freeman, Olson, or Rizzo the targets in that order……..they also aren’t going to move on the C position unless they can unload Voit, and/or Sanchez (cue the comments about little to no value in a trade) and bring in a cheaper defense first C to pair with Higgy…….paying Stanton to “sometimes DH” has nothing to do with anything other than establish payroll parameters as far as how high Hal is willing to go.
It doesn’t matter where I live, I know baseball and I know the Yankees roster is a lot of sunk cost with more work to be done at bigger positions of need. It’s still gonna take a decent chunk of change to get a SS for the short term. Paying Stanton has a lot to do with it because they made a terrible decision and are stuck with an expensive DH that can’t stay healthy. They have to fix the rotation. If the Yankees are dead set on a first baseman, Voit and some big prospects to Oakland makes the most sense. He’s cheaper and that geyt rid of the Voit problem. Freeman is a big contract that doesn’t fix any of their problems. This also isn’t George’s Yankees where they throw money all over like they’re printing it.
I just sort of laugh to myself when I read that a team is being cheap while offering a player these sums of money to play the game in their uniform. The player is never being greedy.
And I’m not saying that Freddie is being greedy. This is about perception. We sat here rooting for this club for decades watching our front office make a mess of things. AA has been doing stellar work since arriving. Why not trust him to do his job?
because nobody can negotiate since December 1st
@James Hicks: IMHO it’s inappropriate and incorrect to label first base as the least demanding defensive position. Exceptional defensive 1B tend to be consistently underappreciated and underrated by sports writers, who don’t appear to recognize and understand the value of such players to their teams’ sucess.
A GG first baseman makes every infielder look better than they really are.
Freddie won’t be 33 until the end of this season, so stop saying he’s 33
Freddie won’t be 33 until the end of this season, so stop saying he’s 33
He’ll be 32.5 years old to start the season, making him 38.5 years old to start his last season. There are 5 players in MLB for 2019-2021, between the ages of 35-38, that had an fWAR> 2.7, cumulative. One was Cruz, so I would dismiss that.
It’s a pretty good bet that his final three years will be weak.
There’s also a good chance that he’ll still be a decent producer at that point too. His approach at the plate is unique and helps his case for being productive longer.
Freddie Freeman has one of the best contact rates of any hitter. He isnt a one dimensional hitter, he hits for power, and he always hits for contact. I dont see him faltering in his later years.
If I’m the Mets owner, and know that the DH is a foregone conclusion, I make Freeman a 6 yr/$200mil offer. If he takes it, I’ve got the best DH/1B platoon in baseball history, and iof he doesn’t, it drives up the price for the Braves, and helps knock down who they can spend on elsewhere.
And the Mets will eventually be paying a 38 year old $33M. For a team with weak pitching, you have more important needs than a DH.
If you look at what the Mets did offensively last year, you’d know that run producers are at the top of the list of needs. Yes we need some bullpen help, but we have 2 legit #1 starters in our rotation, and a good list of candidates to fill in behind them. I don’t see our pitching as weak. It wasn’t last year, at least until DeGrom went down. And 33 mil for a run producer, who plays half his time at 1st, and half at DH? Everything is possible when an owner has money, and wants to win.
I know FF is being painted as money-hungry, but seriously, what price do you think he plays for the Mets? Not only that, do you think he’ll take top dollar so he can sit the bench and not play the field which has been one of the most improved parts of his game (thanks Wash) so he gives up at 33, reducing his ability to make an impact willingly? Sorry, I just can’t believe that Freeman would do that right now or at least at that price. He’s already made $135M+ from ATL to date….it’s not like the guy is starving.
I think I already said he’d platoon with Alonso at 1b/ DH, if the NL adopted the DH rule. Freeman only makes sense for the Mets if the NL gets the DH. But the Mets need two things right now…bullpen help, and offense.
And besides, if your theory about the Mets pitching were true, you can help it out by having a strong offense, if good pitching is unavailable.
Davis is already on the team, and is a bat first/only player. I’m not sure but he maybe about $25MM less than FF. I’m also pretty sure FF won’t produce 6X the results of Davis.
If Davis remains on the IL for a good chunk of the season, he might. The rumors are that guys like Davis, Smith, and McNeil are trade bait. It’s not about creating 6x more results. it’s about more consistent results, and you’d be a fool to put Davis as a DH if a guy like Freeman were available.
Not if Davis is $5MM and FF is $30MM. As a DH is likely to stay healthy, I still have $25MM to spend on other needs, like pitching. (Assuming the NYM budget still has $30MM more to spend).
Davis isn’t going to be a DH. Davis has only played over 75 games once in his career. And, honestly, I hope we don’t get the DH in the NL. I don’t want to keep guys who can no longer run bases, and field a position in baseball just because maybe they can still hit a HR every now and then. The Mets are likely to go up around $300 mil, if not more. they didn’t sign Scherzer to not make a run at a championship. Mr. Cohen is going to spend what it takes to win. He’s said as much. And if he can use his money to make it more difficult on the other teams in the division, he should. That’s good strategy, which it seems is being removed for this game at every turn.
He’s waiting for the Dodgers best offer after the lockout.
I’d say he’s waiting for any, and all offers to leverage against whatever team he really wants to go to.
they made a fair offer. no one is offering more so AA should sit back and wait. These players think a few more HR and RBI should be worth an extra 15 million a year. Just get someone for a year or two, or heck move Soler to first base. anybody can play first base.
If I was the Braves and they’re not landing a SS or bringing back Soler/or Rosario, at least let Freeman retire as a Brave. I’ll cost too much to land A’s Olson /Manaea or Montas. Just bring Freeman back and roll as follow.
1.Acuña Jr. RF
Just bring Freddy back and let the youngsters play and develop or just trade them away for an impact Bat and bring back Roxy!
Pache isn’t a number 2 hitter. He’s barely a number 9 hitter and there’s no guarantee be even starts the yr in Atl. Duvall will be in either left or center. I believe Harris has a better chance of making the opening day roster than Pache. Actually, unless Atl makes another OF signing, Oache makes it by default simply because of Acuna’s injury.
On another note, I don’t want the Jays landing Freeman. I’ll love for them to land Bryant to take over at 3B if they are not trading for J-Ram and then, land his former teammate at a much cheaper rate in Rizzo.
3.Vladimir Jr. 1B
7.Lourdes Jr. LF
So many ways the Jays can replace Semien and add a little more to the line up.
Let’s Go !!!!!
I still don’t get the logic in signing a declining bat like Rizzo to be your DH.
Best Screenname Ever
As regards the headline, the Braves have paid Freeman $133MM.
Funny how so many forget he’s already gotten the largest contract in franchise history (8/135M signed in 2014). Also interesting that the reported 5/135M is the same amount (less years, obvs). I doubt ATL is offering less than 150M on 5 years, but I dunno.
On a side note, I’m very interested ti see what the Braves do in center.
With all the money saved on the Acuña and Albies contracts, not paying up for Freddy seems very shady and unfair to fans.
Just a silly take. Shady and unfair would be to NOT field a team that can compete for the WS trophy.
2023: Braves over White Sox
2024: Braves over Yankees
2027: Braves over Angels
As Brave fans naturally we want FF to spend his entire career a Brave, like Chipper did.
It’s still a business , note the labor situation.
You could play Ozuna at first, the team is stuck with his contract, he would put up power numbers.
The money not spent could well secure a ace for the rotation.
There are no aces left to buy.
Lol, Ozuna at first? Just a terrible idea
Proof that AA hates Braves fanbase: Pouring Salt in the Wound —
Track 1: Freeman signs elsewhere
Track 2: Ozuna reappears as a starter, like nothing ever happened
Track 3: Ozuna takes over Freeman’s position
Track 4 (Epilogue): Ozuna dons Freeman’s #5
A package of Alonso & Davis can probably net a great, cost controlled young starter. How about the Mets sign Freeman away from the Braves?
This adds to the rotation, upgrades first and hurts the Braves.
I don’t think trading Pete Alonso would go over too well with the fan base. The only way Freeman makes sense for the Mets is if the league goes to the DH. Then you have a platoon of Alonso, and Freeman at 1b, and DH. I don’t think we need another starter as much as we need bullpen help. Loup is gone. Familia is not signed. Besides Diaz, Lugo, and May, I don’t think we have anyone else that can get major league hitters out. And lets face it, anyone who watched the Mets last year knows offense was dead. A pitcher knew that if he gave up a lead, it was probably going to cost him. The rotation has 2 legit #1 starters, and arguably the 2 best pitchers in the game right now at the top. Walker, Carrasco, and Megil will pick it up from there. But we are in desperate need of a bullpen. The rumors are that Davis, McNeil, and Smith are on the block. That might get some help for the pen, but not much. I don’t think you let Pete go. He’s too valuable to the team.
The odds of Freeman signing with NYM are lower than NYM trading one of their controllable stars to their rivals. Only time these teams connect are for prospects and salary-dumps, not stars that can show immediate results. And I believe, I could be wrong, but most likely NYM would be surrendering one of their 2 1st round selections (they pick #11 (comp for not signing Kumar Rocker) & #14).
He did reject Atlanta’s qualifying offer. Like I said, I make that call, and see if I can’t do something for him. At the very least drive up what Atlanta has to pay for him. I think they would jump to meet his asking price if they thought he might go to a division rival…especially the Mets.
lumber and lighting
Rizzo is at 3 yrs 45 million?Damn,now I want Story and Rizzo for the halos.Move Walsh to RF and now the Angels lineup has LH balance that they needed and have been tring to add at no avail.Plus Story will have protection again in the lineup where he excels.Story’s speed on base in front of Ohtani,Trout, Rendon,&Rizzo would be scintillating.
“Why haven’t the Braves paid Freddie Freeman?” Oh gee, idk, maybe something about a lockout and all transactions are frozen?
6y 200m? who does he think he is. Chelsea Clinton? (rush hour reference)
Freddie is great but he isn’t 6y/200m great. to be fair they did say closer to 200m not 200m
25-27m avg over 5/6 years annual avg. any higher I’d let him walk, from a financial stand point. He is a franchise player so maybe drop a little more or enough decently paid options that could make sure he finishes his career in Atlanta and get him closer to that 200m mark guaranteed, more if options are picked up.
New CBA may shake things up though
I believe this contract situation is G-14 classified.
“The company’s 2021 third quarter earnings report (which runs from July 1 to September 30, roughly the second half of the regular season) records $222MM in Braves-related revenue and an operating profit of $35MM while running a full-season payroll of just shy of $145MM”
Finally! An article with numbers that actually reflect on the ability of a team to spend on the roster. All we ever hear is the “net worth” of the owners, which is an entirely irrelevant number. But knowing the profits the team earned gives us a much better ability to judge whether they can afford to raise their expenses with new roster commitments.
I’d speculate that $35mm number represents about a quarter of the annual profit for the team. That means after paying all their bills. the Braves pay out about $140mm a year into their parent company. Much gets reinvested, some for a rainy day and some for other profit-making ventures. And of course some just goes into the owners pockets.
It seems to me the Braves could comfortably add $20mm per year to their roster, still have plenty left over for re-investing, and still support any reasonable billionaire’s lifestyle (don’t forget, he has income from other ventures too).