Prior to MLB team owners unanimously voting to impose a lockout at the beginning of December, it was widely presumed Freddie Freeman and the Atlanta Braves would quickly agree to a new contract.
The five-time All-Star has been the face of the franchise for over a decade and just led Atlanta to their first World Series title since 1995.
However, negotiations between Freeman and the Braves never gained much traction as they were believed to be in disagreement over a sixth year. The two sides may very well continue their relationship, but the 32-year-old at minimum must consider the possibility of playing elsewhere.
Hall of Famer Chipper Jones hopes Freeman remains with the Braves but indicated he will go where he wants to play, via The Game 92.9 Atlanta Sports Radio:
“I haven’t talked to Freddie in quite some time, but I’m sure he’s probably a little frustrated this wasn’t done in Spring Training last year. But the fact of the matter is we didn’t have any fans in the stands. We’ve got owners that didn’t know where revenue was going to be at the end of the year and maybe held out a little bit. The bottom line is, Freddie I believe before it’s all said and done, will be playing where he wants to play. I know he’s a West Coast guy. I know he has a home here in Atlanta. But Freddie, if he wants to play for the Atlanta Braves, will be playing for the Atlanta Braves. I’ll leave it at that.”
Jones went on to add that Freeman was disappointed with the Braves and will listen to contract offers from other teams:
“The Braves have made some offers, didn’t make him happy. He’s being courted by some of the prettiest girls on the block right now, so he’s going to listen to them. I hope that he thinks about his legacy here in Atlanta and they can come to some sort of an agreement to bring him back because I’d love nothing more than for his number to go right in there in between Dale Murphy and Bobby Cox. In between the (Nos.) 3 and the 6, a couple down from the No. 10 because we’ve talked about it often and I think it would be a shame if that didn’t happen.”
Throughout the process, the Los Angeles Dodgers, New York Yankees and Toronto Blue Jays have been mentioned as potential suitors for Freeman. The notion that L.A. would pursue the Southern California native heightened once Corey Seager signed a 10-year, $325 million contract with the Texas Rangers.
Braves manager Brian Snitker recently acknowledged the possibility of Freeman signing elsewhere when the lockout ends and said the club would have to keep going if their worst-case scenario becomes a reality.
Dodgers players support signing Freeman
Once Seager officially joined the Rangers, it was reported multiple Dodgers players voiced their support of signing Freeman.
Adding the 32-year-old to the lineup would help fill a void by being a left-handed hitter like Seager, but also require some flexibility on the part of Max Muncy.
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