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Freddie Freeman’s demands are perfectly reasonable given his yearly production, but he had trouble coming to an agreement with the Braves before the lockout. Could the Yankees swoop in?
Freeman reportedly wants around $30 million per season, but the most important part of the structure of any deal would be the years attached — the 2020 NL MVP wants six, while the Braves will only offer him five thus far.
At 32 years of age, Atlanta would rather not be on the books for a 38-year-old first baseman. However, by not paying the face of the franchise what he’s worth, the Braves risk losing him altogether.
So, assuming the Braves don’t re-sign Freeman after the lockout, where else could he go? Two rumored locations are the New York Yankees or Los Angeles Dodgers.
Yankees: A Freddie Freeman contract that works for everyone
The Yankees need Freeman more than Freeman needs them. It’s an easy negotiating tactic that Freeman’s agent will use if they even get to this stage of discussions.
Without Anthony Rizzo at their disposal — and an oft-injured Luke Voit as their primary option at first base — Freeman would be the Yankees’ primary first base target. If they start talking contract, Freeman will know that right away. So what’s to stop the Yankees from paying Freeman what he wants?
The Steinbrenner family, for one, has been strangely stingy with money the last few years. That includes this offseason.
Luckily for them, the Braves are doing the same. Liberty Media isn’t interested in giving Freeman his sixth year, so the best way to convince Freeman to leave the only organization he’s ever known is to go to a sixth year, or perhaps even greater, at the monetary value he believes he’s worth.
So, let’s start at six years, $180 million. To sweeten the pot, why not a seventh-year team option, just in case Freeman is outperforming his projections by the end of his deal? That seventh-year team option can be for $20 million – $23 million.
Enticing Freeman into possibly extending his career on a lucrative payday in his late 30’s — even if the Yankees never intend on pursuing that option — shows they’re not playing around. It also outbids the Braves by quite a bit.