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The Atlanta Braves believe they can replace Freddie Freeman’s leadership, though his on-field metrics may be a little bit tougher.
There is something to be said for a reliable, veteran presence in the clubhouse. While Freeman was among the NL MVP favorites year in and year out, he was also a leader.
Braves general manager Alex Anthopoulos has done his best to replace Freeman on the field, trading for Matt Olson, previously of the Oakland Athletics. The Braves signed Olson to an eight-year contract, as well.
But Freeman’s leadership and steady presence will be a little tougher to come by. Those in the clubhouse know this, but they’re doing their best to step up.
“I think in this clubhouse, we have a bunch of different leaders and a bunch of followers,” Tyler Matzek said, per the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
Braves confident they can replace Freddie Freeman’s leadership
The Braves must replace Freeman by committee on the field, and in the clubhouse. They’re well aware of that.
“I think it’s going to be not guys you’d necessarily expect, but (Travis d’Arnaud and Dansby Swanson) do a good job of kind of rallying everyone and keeping us together,” Ian Anderson said. “I think it’s kind of more by committee now.”
The Braves are no longer that young, up and coming team looking to reach the baseball pinnacle. Atlanta won the World Series last season, and much of that team is still in place. They’ve been there, done that. A repeat is well within question.
“I think if anyone were to speak up, there’s just a ton of respect in this locker room,” Anderson continued. “There’s not any bravado, not any egos that are going to be like, ‘Oh, that guy doesn’t deserve to say anything.’ We’ve been through this together so I think at this point, if anyone were to step up and say something, it would carry some weight.”
That’s the exact sort of mentality the Braves need to continue to grow, and perhaps turn one great year into something far greater.