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The Atlanta Braves must act swiftly and carefully with top free agent Freddie Freeman once the MLB lockout comes to and end.
Freeman will decide between the Braves, Dodgers, Blue Jays and Yankees (among any other mystery teams) once the lockout finally comes to an end. Until then, the speculation only grows as to what Freeman will do, though the overwhelming majority of pundits and folks around baseball assume he’ll re-sign with Atlanta.
Unfortunately, this is where the lockout hasn’t done the Braves any favors. Whether the team or Freeman will admit it, the added time apart without negotiations taking place only adds to the chasm between them.
What does Freddie Freeman want, and can the Braves deliver?
Freeman wants a six-year contract, worth upwards of $30 million per season. He’s over 30 years old, which is the Braves dilemma in offering him said deal. Atlanta has reportedly gone to five years with Freeman’s desired AAV, but not a sixth year. In contract negotiation terms, it’s a relatively minor difference of opinion.
But Freeman is coming off two excellent seasons. Two years ago, he won NL MVP. Last year, he led the Braves to their first World Series in over a decade. What more could the Braves front office want from him?
Freeman is an ideal player to build around. The longer this takes — and once again, it’s not all their fault as the lockout drags on — the worse it looks for the Braves.
Braves: Freddie Freeman negotiations could have lasting impact
It won’t be an issue for Freeman, as once he’s signed he’s likely a Braves for life. But considering the first baseman is a franchise icon, it won’t look good for a Braves team that will surely want to extend their World Series window for years to come by adding talented players.
If the Braves are stingy in negotiations for a player like Freeman, how will they be with talented free agents they aren’t as familiar with? Atlanta had years to get this done, but waited until the very last moment and let a small difference in opinion get the best of them.
The fact Freeman is even meeting with other teams is an embarrassment for Atlanta’s front office, and fans have every right to be upset about that fact.