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If the Braves decide to go cheap with a Freddie Freeman replacement, rather than simply paying him what he’s worth, fans in the ATL won’t be happy.
Freeman is still favored to return to the Braves, so we should start there. Very little suggests that the 32-year-old would rather end his career elsewhere, despite growing frustration with the front office and meetings with other teams before the MLB lockout.
So, all of this is merely in the what-if category. If the Braves really decided to move on from Freeman because of a price tag, which ought to be around $30 million per season for either five or six years, then where would they look for a replacement?
A few cheaper options would enrage fans, and for good reason. The Braves just won a World Series. It’s time to pay up.
Braves: Freddie Freeman replacements that would enrage fans
Ideally, the Braves would either sign Anthony Rizzo, or trade for Matt Olson in this alternate reality in which Freeman signs elsewhere.
But, if general manager Alex Anthopoulos prefers to take a chance on a cheaper option, it could backfire. FanSided’s Call to the Pen outlined four possible Freeman replacements, which included Rizzo and Olson. The other two possibilities? Eric Hosmer of the San Diego Padres and Luke Voit of the New York Yankees.
No thank you.
Voit slashed just .239/.328/.437 with 11 homers and 35 RBI. While he’s shown immense power at times, his injury history suggests he cannot be counted on. He hit an MLB-leading 22 home runs during the pandemic-shortened season in 2020. Then, last year, he played just 68 games. He’s no Freeman.
Hosmer would be easy to acquire, and wouldn’t be cheap from a financial standpoint. However, he wouldn’t cost the Braves much of anything prospect-wise, unless the Padres agreed to pay the majority of his salary. Even then, a mid-tier prospect would be enough to trade for a player A.J. Preller is dying to get rid of.
Could a change of scenery help Hosmer? Potentially, yes. He’s a former Gold Glove winner and was a core piece of the Royals’ World Series team in 2015.
He hasn’t done much since, however, despite cash checks in San Diego.
The easy answer for the Braves is to just sign Freeman, regardless of cost.