Despite the panic from some of Braves Country, Freddie Freeman revealed to The Athletic over the weekend that he still has every intention of staying in Atlanta. His feelings regarding the organization and the city of Atlanta have not changed, and he hopes to be a part of the Braves until he retires. That’s nothing new from Freddie; it’s what he’s said for years, but it was nice to hear him repeat it with free agency looming in just a couple of months.
Even though you never want to see your star player hit the open market, especially in baseball when it is a soft cap, I haven’t been too worried about the Braves eventually figuring out an extension with Freeman. If what Freeman is saying is true, the Braves have plenty of cap space after this season to give him a raise and re-sign him for the foreseeable future. There isn’t a reason this shouldn’t work out, but I did think the negotiations might have to wait until the end of the season. That might not be true.
In an article by Gabe Burns of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Freeman reiterated his desire to stay in Atlanta until the end of his career, “Yes, 100% (I want to stay),” Freeman said. “I hope something gets done. I wish something had (already) been done so we’re not talking about this. But I’m just the player. I don’t bring contracts down or offer contracts or talk and all that. I hope I’m here. I really do. I love this organization with all my heart.”
However, the more interesting quote is when Freeman talked about the timing of the negotiations, “So I hope, either in the next three months or if they really want it to go to free agency or whatever, I really hope something works out where I’m still putting on this uniform every day,” Freeman told the AJC.
That’s a little different tone than we heard over the first half of the season from Freeman. Earlier in the year, it almost seemed a little standoff-ish when he was asked about his contract situation. He constantly stated that he was focused on this season and would worry about his contract later — almost as if he was planning on hitting free agency. The quote above sounds like he’s very open to inking a deal before then, which would be ideal for the Braves. And frankly, with Ronald Acuna now out for the season, a Freeman extension should probably be Alex Anthopoulos’ top priority.
Hopefully, this means negotiations have begun or will start soon because there is absolutely no reason for this not to get done. Freeman has been the golden child of the organization for years and has done nothing but represent the Braves with class. He also happens to be one of the best ten players in the game, wants to be a part of the organization for life, and the Braves have plenty of room to sign him long-term. This is a no-brainer, and the Braves would be fools not to extend Freeman before the end of the season.
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