Matt Adams has become a superstar in Atlanta, and with Freddie Freeman slowly inching his way back from the disabled list, the Braves now a have an unforeseen dilemma on their hands. Adams cannot return to the pinch-hit role he played in St. Louis. He has proven in his short stint with Atlanta he is far too good for that. This leaves the Braves with two legitimate options: Trade the slugging Adams, who is in the last year of his contract, for as much as possible, or figure out a way for Freeman and Adams to coexist in the field.
If the Braves become sellers, moving Adams may become the most sensible move, but with only five teams in the entire National League sitting over .500, Atlanta is far from out of playoff contention. Throw in an MVP-caliber player like Freeman in an already scorching hot lineup, and the Braves could become a really dangerous ball club that could become contenders rather quickly. Braves manager Brian Snitker said the team is evaluating all the possibilities of keeping Freeman and Adams in the lineup.
Snit says the Braves are evaluating and discussing any and all options to keep Adams in the lineup once Freeman returns
— Mark Bowman (@mlbbowman) June 20, 2017
An initial thought would be to move Adams into the outfield, but that is much easier said than done. The Braves outfield is crowded at the moment with three really good players. Ender Inciarte and Matt Kemp are not going anywhere, leaving Markakis as the possible odd man out. Adams would provide a boost in power over Markakis, but it would be hard to justify considering Markakis has been the Braves most consistent hitter since joining the team three years ago and is a Gold Glove right fielder. The Cardinals also tried the Matt Adams experiment in the outfield, and lets just say there is a reason why he wound up strictly as a pinch-hitter.
Perhaps a more plausible option, that would keep all the Braves elite bats in the lineup, would be moving Freddie Freeman across the diamond to the hot corner. I admit it sounded crazy to me at first, but after a few laughs and a second glance, it actually is a somewhat sensible option. Freeman, still 27 years of age and in his athletic prime, did play third base throughout his high school career and certainly has the arm for the position. He has always been a Gold Glover as a fielder, and while the move would not be easy, as Freeman has played his entire professional career at first base, it is possible Freeman could hold is own at third base for the remainder of the season.
Freeman has yet to comment on the possibility, but it is hard to imagine a player like him having any problems moving positions. From the moment he became a part of the Braves organization he has dazzled with his attitude and work ethic. It is one of the things that led many to believe it would be him and not Jason Heyward that would become the next star of the Braves. If Atlanta needs him to play third base, expect him to be out on the field with a much smaller glove fielding ground balls as soon as he is able.
And imagine this, if Freeman is able to complete the move to the hot corner, the Braves lineup would look like this:
That might be the most dangerous lineup in the entire National League. If the Braves can figure out their pitching woes and find a way to start winning before Freeman returns, then do not be surprised to see the Braves biggest star since Chipper Jones manning the same position that Jones once did.