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The Atlanta Braves should not be operating with fear when it comes to getting top free agent Freddie Freeman to put pen to paper and re-sign with the defending World Series Champions.
Freeman has only played for the Braves organization since being drafted out of high school in 2007. He has not only been a perennial All-Star in Atlanta uniform, but has been the franchise cornerstone since Chipper Jones retired nearly a decade ago. Freeman is 32-years-old and has one big free-agency deal left on the horizon. It is a no-brainer, but why are the Braves taking so long?
This is all about projecting what Freeman could be like at the end of this big contract extension.
Why the Braves are apprehensive about giving Freddie Freeman what he wants
Freeman reportedly wants a six-year deal in his free agency. If he were to re-up with the Braves, that would tie him to the franchise through the 2027 MLB season. At that point, he would be 38-years-old entering free agency possibly one last time. While Atlanta is not swimming in cash, the Braves front office needs to pony up whatever Freeman wants to ensure he never leaves them.
While Freeman is probably destined for Cooperstown anyway, playing for only one team, winning a World Series with that team and ensuring nobody else will every wear No. 5 in Atlanta will go a long way in that argument. Though the native Southern Californian could go back home and break Braves Country’s hearts into a million pieces, all of the blame will fall on the Atlanta front office.
Ultimately, Braves ownership must accept the fact it needs to play Freeman its equivalent of the Kobe Bryant contract. If the Braves fall out of contention in the latter third of his new deal, so what? Freeman will have earned every last penny of that six-year deal. Think about all the young kids in Braves Country who will want to play baseball and root for this team because of Freeman.
Hopefully, the Braves organization comes to its senses at some point during the lockout and finds a way to ensure the most important player the franchise has had since Jones never dons another uniform.