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If Freddie Freeman’s time in Atlanta comes to an end this offseason, it sounds like he won’t have to move very far to find a new home.
Baseball seems like an impossible thought right now. The doors to the league remain padlocked by MLB owners, who have locked players out since December and there are no promising signs of changing any time soon.
Another impossible thought, at least for Braves fans, is the idea that franchise icon Freddie Freeman could step into the batter’s box on Opening Day in a different uniform. It’s a nightmare scenario that is slowly seeming more and more like it will become a reality once the lockout mercifully ends.
New York Mets beat writer Pat Ragazzo, as well as ESPN’s Buster Olney, believes there’s a decent chance that the Freeman era in Atlanta is over but his time in the NL East is not.
“The Mets checked in on Freddie Freeman prior to the lockout. Growing belief is that Freeman isn’t going back to [the Braves],” Ragazzo reported on Friday.
We know what happens in Atlanta if Freeman leaves: sadness. But what happens in New York if he signs after the lockout? The Mets have no shortage of sluggers, especially after their spending spree this offseason, but they also already have a young first baseman of the future in Pete Alonso.
According to Ragazzo, Freeman landing with the Mets would shift Alonso’s role from the everyday first baseman to the team’s new designated hitter.
The Mets landing Freeman, who is the player they wouldn’t mind if Alonso turned into — albeit it a 2.0 version of the World Series winner and MVP — seems like a case of the rich getting richer. We’re used to a team in New York spending wildly and landing big-name free agents, it’s just never the one that’s in Queens.
As for the Braves, losing Freeman is a fear fans have been stuffing under a mental couch all offseason. Even during the Braves World Series run last season, rumors swirled about whether the ride was the final one Freeman would have in Atlanta.
There’s still plenty of time for a return to Atlanta to be worked out, but it’s sounding more and more like the nightmare Braves fans have been having about his departure is going to come true.