MLB rumors: Braves could lose Freddie Freeman to small-market team

Atlanta Braves, MLB Free Agency, Tampa Bay Rays

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The Tampa Bay Rays made an offer to Freddie Freeman, yet the Braves continue to wonder if he’s a good investment.

The Rays are the definition of a smart, small-market team. Despite having limited assets and embarrassing attendance year after year, the front office continues to outsmart the most expensive payrolls baseball has to offer.

This team — whose payroll ranks 21st in all of baseball at the moment and have been far lower on that list in recent memory — are a threat to sign Freeman. If that doesn’t prove the first baseman is a good asset at this point in his career, nothing will.

The Braves are concerned about giving Freeman a sixth year, and the two jostled about that contract talking point before the lockout. Most teams assumed Freeman would be signed before December, but that wasn’t the case, leaving the door open for any team — including the freaking Tampa Bay Rays — to make a play for him.

Freddie Freeman rumors: Could Rays actually sign him?

The Rays made Freeman an offer, though it’s unclear at this time how enticing that offer was. Nonetheless, it opened the dialogue between Tampa Bay’s front office and one of the best players in all of baseball.

Tampa is an annual contender in the American League, which CBA or not, has a DH slot. The Rays are not afraid of Freeman’s positional flexibility as he ages, and they’re as analytical as organizations come. Perhaps this exposes the Braves?

Liberty Media saw incredible profits in the Braves’ World Series-winning season. Freeman played that campaign on an expiring deal and delivered, which explains why he’s so dead-set on this sixth year.

If the Rays are willing to give that to him, then why not sign with Tampa?

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