8:08pm: Jon Heyman of the MLB Network tweets that the Dodgers and Braves are Freeman’s most likely landing spots. He hears that Atlanta’s offers have been in the five-year, $140MM range.
7:32pm: Morosi adds that Freeman is expected to make his decision within the next 24 hours and could do so as soon as this evening.
Freeman is among the top free agents on the market, and it’s generally been expected he’d sign quickly in the wake of the end of the lockout. The Dodgers are among the teams who have been linked to the 2020 NL MVP, as are the incumbent Braves, Yankees, Blue Jays and — most surprisingly — Rays.
Many have long expected that Freeman, a career-long Brave, will re-sign with Atlanta on a long-term deal. Calls for the Braves to keep him around particularly mounted after the club wrapped up a World Series title in November. Freeman, of course, played no small part in Atlanta’s first championship in 26 years; after hitting .300/.393/.503 during the regular season, he posted an OPS above .990 in all three playoff rounds.
However, the Braves have reportedly been unwilling to offer a sixth guaranteed year to the 32-year-old first baseman. Freeman didn’t agree to terms with anyone before the lockout, and rumors swirled throughout the work stoppage that he and the club may go in different directions. There’s been no shortage of interest in Freeman’s services, and the Braves have at least looked into the possibility of trading for A’s star Matt Olson or signing Anthony Rizzo as contingency plans.
Of course, it’s far from a lock that Freeman will wind up departing. That the Dodgers are making a serious run at the five-time All-Star is no surprise. Atlanta could yet look to make another push themselves, and there’s no indication an agreement between Freeman and Los Angeles is imminent.
The first base market figures to see quite a bit of action in the coming days and weeks. Freeman and Rizzo have yet to sign. It’s widely believed the A’s will move Olson before the start of the season as they reportedly embark on a payroll-cutting effort. The Yankees have been tied to first base upgrades this offseason, which might make 2020 home run champ Luke Voit a realistic trade candidate as well.