Atlanta Braves next extension candidate is painfully obvious

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It’s time for the Braves to give Freddie Freeman a big contract extension.

The Atlanta Braves have a core of talent in town that is good enough, on paper, to win a World Series. That is likely why the organization just gave manager Brian Snitker a new extension. They know they are close.

But there is one move still to make that is painfully obvious. That is to sign Freddie Freeman, who is now in a contract year in 2021. The worst-case scenario would be him playing elsewhere in 2022 instead of alongside Ozzie Albies, Dansby Swanson, Marcell Ozuna and Ronald Acuña Jr.

Freddie Freeman needs a new deal as soon as possible

Freeman enters the season as a 31-year-old who just won the National League MVP Award in 2020. That feat came after he had a scary bout with COVID-19 before the season began. The four-time All-Star bounced back and didn’t miss a game.

He debuted with the Braves in 2010 and has amassed a career WAR of 38.8 during his career. One thing making a new contract so obvious is that Freeman has not shown any signs of regression to this point.

The Braves will likely want to avoid another eight-year deal like the one Freeman signed in 2014. But given ownership signs off, there is no reason why he can’t get a five or six-year deal worth around the $135 million he got on that initial contract. Both Albies and Acuña being on insanely team-friendly deals means the focus should entirely be on Freeman.

Spotrac lists Freeman’s market value at four years and $109 million. That seems like a no-brainer of a deal and signing the MVP soon establishes a four or five-year commitment to go all-in for a World Series while their window is open.

The Braves have won three straight NL East titles and took the Los Angeles Dodgers to seven games in last year’s NLCS. Keeping Snitker around means the front office believes he is the right man to lead the Braves deep into October.

Letting Freeman walk in free agency would go against common sense and actively hurt the team’s chances of winning. The Braves should be regularly talking to his agent between now and the start of the season.

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