The Braves had a lot of concerns coming into an offseason that followed a painful exit from the postseason, losing in seven games to the Dodgers. Several key pieces of the team needed to be re-signed, including slugger Marcell Ozuna, and the rotation needed a facelift. The Braves were able to address those areas; however, their top priority — extending the reigning NL MVP, Freddie Freeman — has yet to be put to bed.
Frankly, we haven’t heard a peep regarding contract negotiations, which is far from abnormal when it comes to the Braves. General manager Alex Anthopoulos often moves like a snake in the grass — very rarely is news announced by members of the media. However, according to Freeman himself, the reason there has not been any noise about a contract extension is because he has not even been approached by the Braves organization. Freeman had this to say to MLB.com’s Mark Bowman regarding the situation:
I just saw Lance McCullers got his extension and I’ve been seeing the reports about Juan Soto, Trea Turner and other guys in the NL East. I’m happy for them. They deserve it. They are such amazing ballplayers. But in my case, we haven’t been approached yet, my agents or I. We’ve got a week left before the season. My main focus is getting ready for the season next and being ready for April 1 in Philadelphia and getting to the World Series. That’s my main focus. But in terms of extension talks, we haven’t been approached yet.
That isn’t going to be music to the ears of Braves fans. If Freddie were to hit the open market next offseason, the Braves likely wouldn’t be able to compete with many of the offers he would receive from other teams. However, there are two things I want to address to ease the minds of Braves Country.
First, as I’ve already said, Alex Anthopoulos likes to keep things tight knit. There could be a mutual understanding between the two parties that a deal will get done sooner rather than later, and Freeman doesn’t want the negotiations to be talked about publicly. Secondly, Freddie has made it abundantly clear he wants to stay in Atlanta for the rest of his career — much like his good buddy Chipper Jones. I don’t usually believe in hometown discounts, but as long as the Braves make a strong offer, there’s absolutely no reason to believe he won’t end his career in Atlanta.
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