Freeman excited about contract and Braves’ big plans
BY DAVID O’BRIEN
THE ATLANTA JOURNAL-CONSTITUTION
Freddie Freeman‘s humongous new contract, an eight-year, $135 million deal that is far and away the largest in franchise history, was the first step in what Braves general manager Frank Wren described as a plan to keep together many of the team’s top young players for years to come.
“We’ve looked to solidify our ballclub going forward and literally for the last couple of months, we’ve been putting together a plan that culminated with this signing,” said Wren, seated next to Freeman and manager Fredi Gonzalez during a news conference Wednesday at Turner Field.
“We’re looking at how we can keep our team together, especially our young, homegrown players, and we have a lot of collaboration from (Braves CEO) Terry McGuirk and (team president) John Schuerholz to make sure this franchise stays strong.” Wren said part of that strategy involves higher revenues the Braves expect from a move in 2017 to a planned new ballpark in Cobb County. Their payroll is expected to climb to about $100 million this season, up from $90 million. It will likely be just below the median major league payroll.
2014 Season At A Glance: Atlanta Braves
With Spring Training right around the corner, what better time to start looking at all 30 MLB teams for the upcoming 2014 season? Earlier, the Arizona Diamondbacks were previewed and this will go alphabetically through the teams over the next 10 days before wrapping up with my final season preview that will include standings, playoffs, World Series, award picks and Top 50 prospects. Next, the Baltimore Orioles.
2013 Record: 96-66 (First place in NL East)
Freddie Freeman’s Power Alternative
A lot of things happen when you’re guaranteed a hundred thirty-five million dollars. That’s a guess on my part, since I’ve never been in that particular situation, and I can’t speak to what many of those things might be. I presume an overwhelming number of old acquaintances try to re-establish contact. One thing I know for sure is that people talk about you a lot. Lots of people out there talking about Freddie Freeman at the moment, on the heels of his contract extension and also on the heels of literally nothing else happening. Freeman’s eight years are the subject of much dialogue.
Some of the talk is new, and some of the talk is old. There’s just a whole lot of talk, in sum, because even with baseball’s rampant inflation, people are still getting used to the idea of nine-figure contracts and especially nine-figure contracts to non-superstars. People want to know how good Freeman actually is. People want to know how good Freeman will become. And, relatedly, people want to talk about Freeman’s power upside, since he’s a first baseman and first basemen are supposed to hit for more power than Freeman has to date.
Does Freddie Freeman Deal Concern You?
Having become more fiscally conservative as I’ve gotten older, the Freddie Freeman long-term deal concerns me. That isn’t a knock on Freeman, any big money contract over three years makes my toes curl.
Freeman is an outstanding hitter, has power to all fields, and comes through in the clutch. He also makes the other infielders look good with his quick glove and ability to snatch throws in the dirt. The fact that he has played at such a high level, and is still only 24 years old, should mean a long-term, big money deal is a no-brainer, right?