There’s no debating it. The Freeman situation has gotten much worse than Braves fans ever hoped. In all honesty, he should have been re-upped two years ago, but at the very least, the face of the Atlanta’s baseball franchise should have signed a lengthy contract before Spring Training this past season. Now, we are nearly a month removed from a World Series championship, and it appears nothing has changed in negotiations.
For whatever reason, Alex Anthopoulos and the Braves are not budging, and unsurprisingly, neither is Freeman. Most analysts still believe Freeman will remain in Atlanta, but those same people also recognize there is now a real chance of him playing in another uniform for the first time in his career.
Nothing expressed this better than a recent conversation amongst David O’Brien, Scott Braun, Joel Sherman, and Jayson Stark.
— MLB Now (@MLBNow) November 24, 2021
There’s not too much new information in that video that we have not reported — other than the fact that they all agree that there is now a real chance Freeman plays elsewhere. However, what I want to focus on is what Jayson Stark said.
Ken Rosenthal recently discussed three potential Freeman suitors not named the Braves. The Yankees and Red Sox both have openings at first base as well as deep pockets. If they wanted to make a real run at him, Freeman could end up playing up north. Braves fans wouldn’t be happy, but it would be ten times worse if he ended up heading back to his roots and playing in Dodger blue.
On paper, Los Angeles is just fine at first base with Max Muncy. However, with Trea Turner or Corey Seager likely departing in free agency, Muncy can easily move over to second base, making room for Freeman. And what better way for the Dodgers to say, “Hey, we are the freaking Dodgers?” than to steal their biggest threats best player, who just so happens to be from Southern California.
It’s a nightmare for Braves fans, but it’s no longer a far-fetched scenario. The idea that Freeman will give the team some sort of hometown discount because of his emotional ties to the city is way in the rearview. He owes the Braves nothing, and if the Dodgers come calling with a mega-offer, the gamble the organization took by not re-signing him years ago may become something they regret for the next decade and beyond.