Braves: Contingency plans if Freddie Freeman walks in free agency

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Even though Braves country remains champagne drunk after their first World Series title in 26 years, Freddie Freeman‘s free agency still looms over the franchise. Personally, I believe that Freeman will be back with the Braves. However, there’s still the possibility that he walks away as a champion and a franchise legend.┬áSo if that happens, where could the Braves turn?

The Free Agency Band-Aid

This isn’t a strong free agent class with a talent anywhere close to that of Freeman, but there should be a few names that could immediately serve as a stop gap in an attempt to put a band-aid over a bullet hole. Among the names that make the most sense are Brandon Belt and Anthony Rizzo.┬áBoth are big left-handed bats that can provide some middle-of-the-order power. Brad Miller fits that mold as well. Perhaps the Braves could also experiment with moving a guy like Kyle Seager to first base. And although he has never played the position, Nick Castellanos moving to first is an interesting idea that would be pretty off the wall. But regardless, in free agency, there’s no way the Braves are going to replace Freeman’s production.

The Big Trade

As reported this week, the Oakland A’s are preparing for another big sell-off:

If Freeman leaves, in my opinion, the Braves HAVE to pony up some prospects for Matt Olson. In 2021, Olson slashed .271/.371/.540/.911 with 35 doubles, 39 home runs, and 88 walks. His left-handed bat would absolutely play at Truist Park, leaving craters in the Chop House 81 games out of the year. Even though it would be a gut punch to lose Freeman, Olson would fit in seamlessly and provide an immediate power upgrade at first base. He’d also come at a fraction of the price. Olson’s estimated arbitration figure for 2022 is $12 million. He’ll be due for a raise in 2023, but it still will be a fraction of the commitment that the Braves would have to give to Freeman.

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