Braves: It looks like Freeman tried to play hardball, and lost

Fredde Freeman is one of the many Braves impending free agents

As the Braves and Freddie Freeman go in their separate directions, time reveals how the entire saga played out. On the surface, the Braves landed Matt Olson, then extended him, and Freeman signed a lucrative, multi-year deal with his hometown Dodgers. Well, under the surface, there’s more than meets the eye.

Bustler Onley wrote a very detailed account from sources on both sides of the lead up and the fallout of the Freeman-Braves contract negotiations. According to Olney, Chipper Jones, who is a special assistant with the organization, warned Freeman what he should expect through all this and warned him not to play around with the front office.

“I told him, ‘If you go to free agency, and you get courted by all … the big market teams — you’re not coming back,'” Jones said.

“I told Freddie, ‘You’re playing a dangerous, dangerous game … They will move on without you, because Alex has a job to do. If he doesn’t do that job, he puts his job in jeopardy.'”

It seems that’s exactly what AA did, call his bluff.

On Friday, March 11, there was a report that the Dodgers were making an intense push to sign Freeman. The next day, Close and Anthopoulos spoke, and, according to four sources, Close told Anthopoulous that the Braves had an hour to accept one of two proposals — a six-year, $175 million deal, an average of a little more than $29 million a year, or a five-year, $165 million deal, an average of $33 million per season.

Anthopoulos rejected both of Excel’s proposals. The two sides agreed on only this: All offers and proposals were off the table. Both sides needed to prepare for an Atlanta squad without Freddie Freeman.

It’s a shame it ever came to this point, but AA did what was best for the Braves. They’re arguably in a better position without Freeman and with Olson extended than they’d be with Freeman on a new contract. One thing is clear; Freeman overplayed his hand.



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