ESPN’s Kiley McDaniel released his list of the top 50 free agents this offseason and predicted each one of their next contracts. On the list were two Braves — Freddie Freeman, who was third, and Eddie Rosario, who came in at #43. Here’s what McDaniel had to say about Atlanta’s first baseman.
There are some warm and fuzzy feelings going around in Atlanta, but Freeman is about to hit free agency when that deck has been stacked against first basemen and players over 30 for years. Freeman rises above the fray because of his nine-year streak of three-plus-win seasons, with a peak of six wins, two five-win seasons and the 2020 NL MVP. The most direct comp, and the likely floor for Freeman, is Paul Goldschmidt‘s extension with the Cardinals that also started in his age-32 season: five years, $130 million. There’s real power in being the best hitter in a strong free-agent market, and many big-market clubs are in solid financial positions. Plus, the Braves want to keep the band together. I think Freeman can clear that Goldschmidt number (which came at a discount because it was signed a year before it kicked in, with no open-market bidding), with a decent chance he’s the big-money player who signs pre-Dec. 1, particularly if he ends up returning to the Braves.
McDaniel projects Freeman will receive a six-year contract worth $156 million in total, which is a year longer than Goldschmidt’s deal and will take him into his late-30s. I think this would be a fair deal for both sides and one that I would expect to get done, but I wouldn’t be shocked if Freeman received an even more lucrative contract. He’s an unrestricted free agent that is coming off an MVP and a championship while also being one of the consistently great hitters in the game for years. There will be no shortage of bidders for his services.
For Rosario, McDaniel predicts a one-year, $10 million contract, which is $2 million more than the one-year deal he signed with the Twins last offseason. Rosario was actually amid his worst season at the plate with Minnesota, but everything changed once he came to Atlanta on his way to becoming a postseason hero. There will be mutual interest between the Braves and Rosario, and if he ends up taking a one-year deal, I see him staying in Atlanta. But if a team out there offers him a multi-year contract, I don’t see Alex Anthopoulos matching.