No matter how much Braves fans are tired of hearing it, the Freddie Freeman drama will inevitably leak its way into the season. All eyes will be on how the hometown kid, Matt Olson, handles the spotlight, filling the shoes of the former face of the franchise. If he even slips up a tiny bit coming out of the gate, you can expect wild headlines to be all over the place. However, I guess the renowned Ken Rosenthal wanted to get the party started a little early because I can’t wrap my head around his thinking in the piece he wrote yesterday for The Athletic.
The Braves clubhouse was “rattled” by Freddie Freeman’s departure coupled with the signing of Matt Olson to the richest deal in team history before he ever put on an Atlanta uniform.
“The Braves’ internal dynamics bear watching,” writes @Ken_Rosenthal.https://t.co/vjh0aAYPAc pic.twitter.com/QouS4kgVz8
— The Athletic MLB (@TheAthleticMLB) March 31, 2022
Talk about fishing for stories. The reality of the situation is Freeman wasn’t acting in the interest of the team by holding out on signing, so the Braves took personal relationships out of the picture and did what was best for the team. If the rest of the Braves roster can’t appreciate that, they probably shouldn’t be on the team.
Another key aspect of this piece is the Braves going to arbitration with five key players. Admittedly, that’s a lot, but the process is not abnormal. The Braves are a “file and trial” team; they’ve always been and always will be. So sure, going to arbitration over $250,000 for Max Fried may sound meaningless, but this is how they negotiate — no exceptions. It’s never been an issue in the past, and I highly doubt it will be one in the coming years.
The Braves have been negotiating with free agents like this for decades, and it’s a primary reason why they’ve had so much success over that period. Sure, the clubhouse was shocked when the Olson deal went down… so was I! However, as more details surrounding the Freeman negotiations are revealed, it was never a situation where the Braves didn’t offer a mega-contract. Freeman would have received more money annually if he had stayed in Atlanta. He had other interests in mind that had nothing to do with the Braves; there’s no reason anybody in the clubhouse should resent how Anthopoulos handled things. This organization is much better off for the future because of his swift and gutsy actions.
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