So…What Next?

Yesterday’s blockbuster, although awkward and heartbreaking for Braves fans, filled a need, grabbed a HUGE bat, and left Anthopoulos with plenty to think about. The payroll is currently sitting around $140MM and apparently there’s money to spend according to the Braves new beatwriter:

The final tally for 2021 was $153MM and while I can’t speculate too much, the Braves can spend what they make and since last year, with the winning of the World Series, was so profitable, my guess is the $ left is significant. There’s no source here, but $180MM as a final tally seems about right.

Current Projections of 26-Man Roster

Infield (5): Matt Olson, Ozzie Albies, Dansby Swanson, Austin Riley, and Orlando Arcia

Catchers (2): Travis d’Arnaud and Manny Pina

Outfield (4): Marcell Ozuna, Ronald Acuña Jr., Adam Duvall, Guillermo Heredia

Starting Pitching (5): Charlie Morton, Max Fried, Ian Anderson, Huascar Ynoa, Tucker Davidson

Relief Pitching (7): Luke Jackson, Jay Jackson, Dylan Lee, Tyler Matzek, A.J. Minter, Jacob Webb, Will Smith

Breakdown: Acuña likely doesn’t break camp on the active roster, which creates a need in the OF. In all likelihood, the Braves don’t want to throw Duvall in CF everyday anyway and I expect them to hit the market hard in search of a CFer. For reference, here’s the complete list of FA CFers left on the market, and CF is apparently used loosely:

Center Fielders

Of this list, Kris Bryant is the most intriguing player, but calling him a CFer is the equivalent to calling a hotdog a sandwich. It’s my opinion, if the Braves want a CFer, they’re going to have to go the trade route. It’s worth noting that the Brewers just signed Andrew McCutchen which could make Lorenzo Cain available. He’s making $18MM in 2022, then has 5 deferred payments of $1MM from 2023-2027. This wouldn’t be my route, but I’m lost in the pines right now when it comes to ideas on what to do with CF. I guess Ketel Marte could be made available, but comes with options for the ’23 and ’24 seasons, so he wouldn’t be cheap and the Braves depleted many of their prospects in the Matt Olson trade.

There are still a lot of players available that can play multiple positions and hit a bit. Asdrubal Cabrera, Brad Miller, Marwin Gonzalez, Jed Lowrie, and Jonathan Villar to name a few. You could put pics on a dartboard and throw blindfolded, hit whoever, and I’d be satisfied with the results.

The starting pitching market is getting thin, but there are still some steady pieces out there, as well as some high risk/high reward players. Here’s my personal list of starters that tickle my tastebuds:

I’ll not get into the relief pitchers, because there’a whole lot, but I do feel like there’s a need for another RH reliever, especially considering Kirby Yates might not be back until midyear.

An Idea?

Look…we’ve went down this road before. Marcell Ozuna is back, likely set to play DH and has apologized publicly. Is there a way to get rid of him? Highly unlikely, but there are bad contracts out there and David Price is one of them. Nah…forget it. It was just a dream.

Author: Ryan Cothran

Ryan is the site editor and manager of Braves Journal. Follow him on Twitter.

308 thoughts on “So…What Next?”

  1. To Jonathan @106 from the last thread:

    No, I don’t want to fire AA, and I don’t want to reinstate the reserve clause. I wish, as I wished in the case of the Andrelton Simmons trade, that the team would have been more willing to spend money than they manifestly were.

    As a baseball trade, this was not a steal on either side — it was an eminently defensible deal on both sides, but it certainly wasn’t a no-brainer. The cost of the prospects was very high. I don’t think this is a Tex deal. But it’s also not Fred McGriff.

    I wish that in their wisdom, Alex, and Liberty Media, had valued Freddie and the prospects a little more, and the money a little less. And, yeah, I hate that they didn’t.

  2. My barber says Springer wants out of Canada. Said he held AA for a good cry yesterday in his shop and saw the following text on his phone:

    ATL gets: Springer and Gurriel
    TOR gets: Swanson, Ozuna, Waters and Wright

    Braves turn around and sign Correa and Soler. The city begins prepping for a parade in November.

  3. The Olson deal is eminently more defensible if they sign him to an extension this year or the coming offseason to make up for the loss of talent we gave up. (Please not a rental).

    In terms of what’s next, why not sign Danny Duffy and Joc Pederson (to platoon with Duval)? Trade Ozuna & whatever cash is left to add a clutch reliever and an OF /bench basher (like last year).

  4. This is NOT going to be a popular opinion (as I’ve already found out on Twitter), but now that I’ve had some time to think about it, and with emotions set aside: I think I prefer Matt Olson to Freddie Freeman. Or at least, I’d say it’s pretty much a wash.

    2021 WAR:
    Freddie +4.5, Olson +5.0.

    2021 HR:
    Freddie 31, Olson 39.

    2021 OPS:
    Freddie .896, Olson .911

    (And, the real kicker):
    2022 Cost:
    Olson $12m, Freddie ~$30m+

    It’s really hard to say goodbye to “our guy,” I’m gonna miss him too. But his clubhouse presence and sentimental value to the players is not worth an additional $18m over what Olson provides. Ask any Athletics fan and they’ll tell you what a great leader and human Olson is. Plus, he’s a hometown kid and has founded a charity in Atlanta; I think Olson will be a clubhouse leader from Day 1.

    Also, I hear a lot of people say “you can’t get rid of the face of the franchise!” and… if Freddie is the “face,” of the franchise, then TDA, Riley, Dansby, Albies, Acuña, Fried, Soroka, Matzek, and Jackson are the “spine,” of the franchise. I’d rather have a spine than a face. (Ok, the analogy doesn’t really work.) My point is, whether or not someone is the “face” of the franchise shouldn’t dictate whether or not they can be traded or not-signed. It’s a business, and the goal is to buy as many wins as possible with as few dollars. There’s people who are turning against AA now while there is STILL a brand-new World Series trophy sitting in Truist Park. Considering that many MLB franchises win one World Series per human LIFETIME, I do not understand the ungrateful people turning against AA right now. No player is worth another World Series, no prospect is worth another World Series, and no future team is worth more than another World Series, and it’s not even close. Anthopoulos just sold the farm to get Olson, but if we win another World Series next year, it doesn’t matter. If the Braves win back-to-back championship titles in ’21 and ’22, and then Anthopoulos decides to field a team composed entirely of middle-schoolers in ’23, I literally would not care.

    The “too-long, didn’t read” version: I’m annoyed that fans are ungrateful at AA or somehow claiming that his inability to re-sign Freddie is the worst mistake in sports history when there’s a BRAND NEW World Series trophy that’s going to sit in Truist Park forever.

  5. (Also, I started typing mine before any other comments were posted and it just took me a long time to get it done, so I wasn’t replying/targeting anyone in particular; it was a poorly-directed venting of my anguish after reading Braves Twitter yesterday :) )

  6. Eh, who cares what some fans think? Twitter is just loud, that’s all.

    (And if you think the MLB Twitterverse is stupid, check out the SEC world. You can hear the knuckles scraping.)

    Ultimately, it’s Freddie’s choice, really. I will miss him, but Olson’s our guy now & we still have a great chance at the post-season & a decent one for the WS.

    And yes, by all indications he seems to be the very best alternative.

  7. While not one to normally defend ownership, a lot of these complaints that it’s a shame they wouldn’t just spend the money don’t really make any sense to me. It’s all about allocating your finite resources (your budget). I guess you could argue that the budget should be limitless but that’s not the real world. Even if the Braves were to get to the CBT threshhold of $230 million, I’m not sure allocating 13% of that to one player probably past his peak, is a wise move. Now if you come back to reality and the budget (while rising) probably sits at about $170 million, now you are talking about allocating 17.6% of your budget to that one player.

    In my heart, I didn’t want Freddie to go, but in my head, this was always the move that made the most sense, assuming Freddie didn’t want to settle for a 6/120 type of deal.

  8. Freddie had an offer from the Braves. It obviously wasn’t the offer he wanted, but if being in Atlanta was most important to him above all else, he’d be here. Once he got to free agency, it seems that the scales tilted towards money. That’s his right. Anthopoulos has to work within the budget McGuirk gives him. Fair or not, AA obviously didn’t think he could field a complete team if Freddie was going to require $30MM or so for the next six years. If there’s anyone who deserves anger, it’s McGuirk and LM for not fielding a $200MM team, which is well within their ability.

  9. @6 I agreed with you on Twitter. The Braves are a better team with Olson and the player(s) they sign with the extra money than they are with Freddie alone. They also aren’t locked into a long term contract for an aging player. Look at how many of those contracts bomb (Pujols, Cabrera, Cano, Votto, etc.). Finally, Freddie chose to leave. He chose $$$ over the Braves, which was his right. I love what AA did with this trade. It’s actually what I hoped would happen. I really hate the term, “face of the franchise”. Ronald is the best player on the team by far.

    @9 Agree

  10. Wow ..did we just extend Olson for 8 years ??? Is that twitter true … ???? 169 mil ??? somebosy check it out

  11. Holy cow, cue the Ron Burgundy “That escalated quickly!” meme

    Braves sign Olson to 8 year, $168M deal.

  12. And just like that the Braves sign Olson for 8/168 with a $20M option for a ninth year.

    I guess it’s not just a rental.

  13. did we just extend Olson for 8 years ??? Is that twitter true … ???? 169 mil ??? somebosy check it out .. 21 million a year … thats a steal ..

  14. Wow! 8 years and $168 extension for Olson!

    How does that trade look now?

    I hate losing Freddie but this was unreal by AA

  15. (And if you think the MLB Twitterverse is stupid, check out the SEC world. You can hear the knuckles scraping.)

    Well said. Since political words are muted, this is almost my entire feed. Film Twitter, and specifically James Bond fans, now that’s some good stuff. The subject matter makes it easier to be less divisive, unless you’re still bitter 5 months later that they killed James Bond.

  16. Now id we can get Matt to hug people and be a leader ..we have the next inproved version of FF

  17. @18 ..I agree ..what a great get by AA … 8 years of Olson … sweet !!!!!!!!! He is a player !!!

  18. Other GMs are playing checkers… Anthopoulos is out here playing 6D chess with time travel, and WINNING!!

  19. In AA we STILL trust

    To quote the mighty Bob Sugar

    It’s not Show Friends, it’s Show Business

  20. I’ll eat some crow. I said yesterday I didn’t think the extension was happening.

    From a baseball perspective the trade makes sense now. But as a fan I still hate it.

  21. You’d have to think this was already agreed upon by the time the trade was made or else AA might not have paid as much in prospects.

  22. AA is a genuis .. now go get a LF bat for OF and a starter and a LH bench guy and we are sitting pretty ..I say we are 3 players away … Rosario ?? not sure who is on free agent market as a starter , or untility bat … maybe another veteran in bullpen

  23. Yeah, color me wrong on the extension at least. I figured there’s no way they’d go that far for a first baseman if they wouldn’t do it for Freddie.

    Still remains to be seen if they invest in the supporting cast, though.

  24. CF will be tricky to fill. Given their pursuit of Cruz it seems they are looking for another bat. Signing him would have also locked WifeBeater in LF. I can see them going after Soler for this same role. He can also play RF until Ronnie returns. I honestly think Duvall plays CF this year with Heredia coming in for defense. As you said, the other options are slim. MLB network showed Waters in CF for the Braves, which is silly. I would call him an emergency option.

    Some of those pitchers look decent. Duffy is out until June so not sure about him. Boyd could be good for one of AA’s patented “1 year build your value” contract. Pineda would be my next choice I guess.

    Agree on the need for another reliever but most of the good ones have been snapped up. Even Chris Martin and Jesse Chavez are signed. IMO, use Hnoa out of the bp and get a starter.

    The Braves farm was hurt at the top end by the Olson trade. It is still a deep system and I expect some breakouts this year….but I don’t see a major trade. My guess is that Harris is untouchable. He and Strider are the top two prospects now I guess.

    Sooooooo happy to talk baseball again.

  25. Yessssss on the extension for Matt. I kind of thought they might have been given the opportunity to work out a deal prior to the trade.

  26. So they bought out his last two arbitration years and six of his free agent years, correct?

    EDIT: Or seven of his free agent years if you assume the club option, I guess.

  27. @2 I was just about to ask, and this is simply because I don’t follow the Journal as closely during the off-season, if folks around here were really of the impression that the Braves weren’t offering more than any other team in an effort to resign Freeman? The place I frequent more often (smaller more intimate crowd with some insiders) has the total opposite take that Freddie was asking more from Atlanta than anyone else was even willing to offer, and thus AA was left with the certainly more unpopular move of passing on Freeman and simultaneously shipping out the internally popular Pache and Langeliers. It’s not putting it lightly that several folks in the organization were very disappointed at the news. This doesn’t appear to be a case of AA or Liberty Media not ponying up as their offers were very competitive if not greater in total than even what LA had been offering — certainly, however, there is the feeling that LA was along simply to help drive up the cost.

    The Braves are going to spend some money. There doesn’t appear to be any doubt about that. There’s no specific source for this, but it’s generally believed that the budget could climb to $175M-$180M. They have room to add another starting pitcher and an outfielder, definitely, and save some for the trade deadline. We’ll be playing as defending champs and not just symbolically.

    At least, that’s the vibe I get with my smaller crowd.

  28. That having been said, and having thought about it a little more, I don’t think this changes my assessment of the original trade, or the decision to pass on Freddie, that much?

    I mean, you’re buying out Olson’s age 30-35 seasons, which kind of puts the lie to the “don’t invest in a first baseman’s thirties, it can only end badly!” argument a lot of people were using as to why they shouldn’t sign Freddie. And by 2024 or so, you’re comparing Freeman, Pache, Langeliers, Cusick, and Estes to Olson, a comp pick, and 7-10 million dollars. If Freddie is still good and one of the prospects makes it, that starts looking like a pretty bad exchange. If multiple of them make it, it starts looking real bad.

    Maybe Freddie signs for an absolutely outrageous amount and makes the Olson extension look like a steal by comparison. Maybe all four prospects flop and the trade looks like a heist. Maybe the price of WAR skyrockets in the coming years and locking down a premium talent early looks good. (Given the way the CBA shook out, though, I’m skeptical of that last one.) All sorts of ways the Braves could come out of this smelling of roses. Guess I’m down to hoping one of them happens. The extension makes me feel better about it, but I’m still not at the point where I feel good.

  29. I think the Braves will break camp with one significant rookie. Seems to be the case every year. I’m going with Waters. And platoon Waters and Heredia in CF with Ozuna as DH. I think a big LH OF (Rosario?) would complete the hit side of the team.

    On the pitching side, I’d be fine with what was posted above with either a high-end RH RP or a one-year deal on a SP. Ynoa could still be a long reliever. I also think both Yates and O’Day will bolster the RH side of the relief corps. Between Davidson, Muller, Elder, Strider, etc… we will have enough pitching to cover.

    Our summer additions will certainly include Acuna and Yates and maybe Soroka. AA may be playing for those to be the late additions assuming there are no injurious disasters. Any of Waters, Lee, or Davidson might not make it and these late additions could cover for that. I see O’Day as this year’s Chavez.

  30. @38 The problem with Freeman’s extension was always about years 5 and 6 (age 36 and 37), at least as I have understood it. He’d be a Brave today if he would take a 4-year deal that simply made him the highest paid 1B ever. Maybe he will do a 3/118 or something like that, which I think I saw LA may have offered… I feel like the Braves might have a done a 4/130 but it’s apparent that none of that was going to get a deal done, and so Olson plus his extension makes a lot more sense.

    I could be off the mark with saying this, but I feel like the Olson deal just deflated a ton of hype for anybody signing Freddie Freeman.

  31. @38 ..almost 5 years difference in age and about at least 8 mil a year savings and a contract that will look cheap in 2027 thru 2030 … I think it had to be done ..I think FF should have taken the 4 or 5 years and rode with it and we wouldnt be having this conversation … FF had to make a decision best for him .. he has enough money .. 4 yrs vs 6 yrs ..makes no difference .. 4 yrs would get him retired in time be his boy’s baseball coach and watch his other kids grow … 6 yrs just unrealistic for a guy already 32 yrs old .. Olsen will be 34 or 35 when contract ends .. FF would be 39 .. so sure Ill miss FF .. he was Mr Brave !!

  32. Here’s one way to think about this. Assume Freddie wanted 6 years/180 and the Braves gave it to him. Now assume that the As signed Olson to 8 years/168. Then the As offer to swap Freddie and Olson, but since that deal is so lopsided, they ask for Pache, Langeliers, Estes and Cusick. If you’re AA, how do you turn that deal down? Now if the deal Freddie ends up signing is considerably poorer than that, you might well turn it down, but we’ll see.

  33. Matt Olson is going to break Hank Aaron’s home run record. Ok, I’m just kidding.

    But for real, now I’m just wondering how. How did he know what he knew that would lead to an extension so quickly? I wonder if he had a negotiating window with him before the trade was finalized, and it just wasn’t leaked to the media. Obviously controlling leaks is something AA is quite good at.

  34. This is very reminiscent of the Tim Hudson trade where he signed an extension soon after the trade.

    Of course, none of the guys we gave up really ended up amounting to much.

  35. @43

    I’m sure Alex has B.B. Abbott’s number. I wouldn’t be surprised if they had a conversation about a hypothetical world in which this trade got consummated. I’m guessing that there was a general sense that things were going sideways with Freeman certainly since the lockout ended, possibly as far back as before the lockout.

    On Freddie, I still get the feeling that he wanted to be here, but he and his agent were playing hardball trying to maximize what we would give him and forcing us to negotiate against ourselves, particularly if the offers from the Dodgers and whoever else weren’t quite what they wanted. I think they overplayed their hand and wound up screwing themselves, to be honest with you. Now Freeman is locked out of where I’m guessing he wanted to be and his market is significantly deflated.

  36. When it all bowls down to is it’s a business, if you’re going to blame anyone you have to blame the player and the owner.

  37. I think AA has proven the last 2 years that he is as good as it gets. He is as big of a reason as anyone the Braves won that World Series trophy.

  38. That $15MM number doesn’t make a whole lot of sense to me. They were willing to pay Freeman $28-29MM and leave only $1-2MM for an outfielder and a starting pitcher? Seems to me the number has to be higher than that.

  39. Not to be cynical, but perhaps it accounts for the ever-popular “leave yourself with an incomplete team so that you can complete it during the trade deadline” strategy.

  40. Yeah, I don’t know how they were in Nelson Cruz and Freddie, let alone Freddie and Justin Verlander. I doubt DOB actually knows what the real number is. And why would they even give it anyway?

  41. I agree with the above about the $15 million, it is probably more.

    But you can get another OF and a 4th starter for that.

    Also, I think it is time to start saying AA>JS.

  42. Haven’t been around here much recently but reading through the last couple threads I have to say I’m shocked to see the lack of emotion at the fact that the team is moving on from Freddie. I felt like yesterday was a tragedy. Yes, we root for laundry and all that. But I rooted for Freddie for 12 years. Wore his name on my back proudly. Now he’s gone, and that hurts.

    Even if this move puts the team in a better position to win in the future, the complete MBAification of baseball team management is a huge bummer. I hate everything AAR mentioned, and I will add one more “hate”: I hate how fans only seem to think about this stuff in terms of raw $$/WAR, playing armchair GM. I’m a fan of Freddie Freeman. I’m sad and I’m pissed off that he’s going to be playing for a team other than the Atlanta Braves. Sue me.

  43. @52 Nothing screams IMO more than using the words “probably” and “about” in the same breath.

  44. @54 There is very little left in actual baseball that I like. This was mostly Freddie Freeman, though. Anybody with a smidge of baseball common sense knew that what Freddie wanted wasn’t lining up great with his age (ie. turning 31 and pressing to be paid like an MVP through age 37). Despite even all of that, the Braves remained firmly at the top of the list of offers he has looked at. The team couldn’t afford to wait though…

  45. I have to believe AA is in on Soler (or Rosario) and a veteran starter to complete the roster, and I doubt he’s constrained by the reported 15MM number. One thing that is for sure, no one will know about anything until it’s done.

  46. This extension makes the trade that much better. Not only saving money this year but every year after. Sure, just like FF, there would possibly be a downward trend in the later years but paying $8mil~ less for each aging year is not insignificant, especially as salaries rise.

    I cannot say it was Freddie or his agent, but either way their team I believe now seriously over-estimated the market for an admittedly marquee player who was certainly owed a pay day after his last few years. We were led to believe it was just a sticking point over a 6th year or something, but in reality I think they thought they could leverage the high money pockets of the Yankees and Dodgers to maximize any deal. Their bluff (if that could be what it was) was called and as others have suggested, Freddie’s market is considerably less now than what it was the day before the trade. I heard on the way home by Olney that “Freddie is too expensive for the Yankees.” If that is true, FF’s true market ceiling was a lot lower than was planned when they began negotiating.

    I’m still going to miss him (and would hate for him to be a Dodger) but this was good business by AA.

    Now go sign Rosario and/or Soler. Anything to keep Ozuna from playing LF. He is a DH or bust.

  47. @45 I did not know Olson was represented by Abbott. That makes a lot more sense now. Thank you, Nick.

  48. I felt better about Olson post extension until I saw DOB’s tweet just now on only having $15M left to spend this spring. There’s still a lot of holes to fill unless there’s a trade coming.

    Assuming that total is true true — I hope not — that likely only gets you Soler or Rosario, but probably not both. I can’t see Conforto signing a one-year deal at that amount unless it’s a multiyear agreement, which is probably too risky for him.

  49. @56 I’m not blaming either side. We don’t know who offered what or what Freddie wants to do. I get it. It’s the fact that everyone’s reaction has been, “Yeah, I’ll miss Freddie, BUT…”. I don’t know. Just surprised at how unsentimental everyone has been about this.

  50. @53 Also, I think it is time to start saying AA>JS.

    It’s close, but admittedly AA hasn’t been here long enough to have the opportunity to make the mistakes JS has. If you call the Tex trade a mistake, then JS was here almost 20 years before he did that.

  51. @54,61: The Braves traded Hank Aaron…. and they did it well before the MBAification of anything. And when they did it, I was really, really upset. In the next year, I refused to speak the name of Dave May, not that it came up that much. If you can trade Hank Aaron, you can not sign Freddie Freeman.

  52. I cannot say it was Freddie or his agent, but either way their team I believe now seriously over-estimated the market for an admittedly marquee player who was certainly owed a pay day after his last few years. We were led to believe it was just a sticking point over a 6th year or something, but in reality I think they thought they could leverage the high money pockets of the Yankees and Dodgers to maximize any deal. Their bluff (if that could be what it was) was called and as others have suggested, Freddie’s market is considerably less now than what it was the day before the trade. I heard on the way home by Olney that “Freddie is too expensive for the Yankees.” If that is true, FF’s true market ceiling was a lot lower than was planned when they began negotiating.

    This might be true for Freddie, Correa, and Story. They might all be over-estimating their value. Story turned down a looooooot of money that he’s probably not going to get back.

  53. @54, hold your post up to a mirror and it would be my position.

    I won’t fault you for being a fan of a player, but I couldn’t possibly have a different style of fandom from you.

    I’m a Braves fan. While I do like individual players, I’m much more of a fan of the team itself than ever holding any individual affectation toward certain ones.

    It’s good that people have diverse opinions and points of view, though, even if I don’t personally share them.

  54. @63 – Follow on with Murphy trade, not resigning all three of the big 3 at some point, etc, etc.

    Honestly, I thought I would be more emotional about it than I am. Maybe all the rest of the crap for the last few months is making me less so about everything.

  55. @54 Fair post and well said. I think we’ve just been conditioned to understand how the game works. And to JonathanF’s point, it’s been that way for a very long time.

  56. @63, Fair enough! I had to go look May up just now. Olson seems like a fair bet to outproduce the 2.0 bWAR he put up in 1975 – maybe that will make this easier.

    @65, I think you may be in the majority of Braves fans on this one. You’re right, it’s not a bad thing either way I guess, people have different ways of being fans.

  57. The ’90s Braves were certainly not strangers to parting ways with popular players.

    The Braves straight up released Ron Gant. Not traded. Didn’t lose to free agency. Released.
    Braves traded David Justice to the Indians as part of a package for Kenny Lofton who would leave a year later.
    Braves replaced Fred McGriff with Andres Galarraga — I thought McGriff was incredibly popular with Braves fans, but we collectively didn’t care because Big Cat.

    The only names that come to mind as having been with this team for the entire division run: Schuerholz, Cox, and Smoltz.

    Only player I know who played his entire career with the Braves from that era is Chipper Jones — Chipper 100% made sure it happened, because AOL/TW didn’t care as long as the budget was met.

  58. Is it possible that with the Braves having moved on, it actually improves the market for FF? It’s conceivable that some number of potential bidders figured that he would ultimately sign with the Braves, so why bother to seriously consider him. Now more teams might throw their hat into the ring. Just a thought.

  59. I have to say, the Olson extension looks fabulous. And the fact that Olson’s agent is B.B. Abbott is tremendous. Olson may very well be a better player than Freeman, as Keith Law said yesterday:

    He was more valuable than Freeman in 2021 and in 2019, and he’s four and a half years younger, so there’s more reason to think he’ll hold his value. It may not feel this way to diehard fans, but the team is probably a little better in 2022-23 for having Olson than Freeman, and very unlikely to be any worse off for it, especially if they take the $10 million to $15 million a year they’re saving here and put it toward starting pitching and/or a corner outfield spot.

    So… on pure baseball terms, the Braves went with Olson for about the money that they wanted to offer Freeman, and they got a guy who’s four years younger and arguably better right now. They had to trade four of their best prospects to get to that point, and they had to part with Freeman — a wonderful player, the heart of the team, the MVP, the guy who singlehandedly beat the Brewers.

    There are very few players like Chipper Jones, Tony Gwynn, Craig Biggio, and David Wright who never play an inning for another team. I would have liked for Freddie to be one of them. The anguish of losing Freddie is ameliorated by the fact that our team is, arguably, stronger today than it was yesterday. But it is anguishing.

    For me, watching my favorite players put other uniforms has always been bittersweet. I’ll always root for Freddie, just like I’ve always rooted for Jason Heyward, and always rooted for Brian McCann. I hope Freddie continues to mount a case for Cooperstown, and I hope the Braves win another World Series this year.

    Baseball’s a business, we root for laundry, blah blah blah. I get it. I’m with @54, and our old commenter W.C.G., in my disdain for the fan emphasis on $/WAR. For me, baseball is fundamentally about stories.

    As I wrote in an email a few days ago, “baseball has clearly gone from a game to a business” is a sentiment that has been routinely printed since at least the 1870s, when it was directed at the first professionals who had the temerity to draw salaries at all, and at prima donnas like Tony Mullane who audaciously believed they were worth their wage, in what had in recent memory been regarded by certain wags as a gentlemen’s game.

    I don’t mind players getting paid what they’re worth. I don’t mind them getting overpaid, either. In fact, when it comes to a guy like Freddie Freeman, I want my team overpaying him!

  60. Posnanski had a pretty harsh take, but it seemed predicated on the assumption that the Braves hadn’t made a serious offer and the move was made primarily to increase profits.

    As others have said it is a rare thing now for a star to finish his career with the same club. It’s a real shame that FF wasn’t an exception.

  61. It sucks that Freddie and the Braves didn’t come to an agreement. I don’t think there is anyone here who will say otherwise. We all wanted him to retire as a Brave.

    At the same time, AA knew that a deal with Freeman wasn’t close and had to make a move to acquire a star first baseman while he still could. If he waited, someone else likely would have pounced on Olson. Freeman likely would have still left, and then the Braves would really be up the creek.

  62. @70 stated “Is it possible that with the Braves having moved on, it actually improves the market for FF? It’s conceivable that some number of potential bidders figured that he would ultimately sign with the Braves, so why bother to seriously consider him. Now more teams might throw their hat into the ring. Just a thought.”

    An interesting thought and we have heard other teams now interested than we had not heard prior (Rays, Red Sox among them) but that could have as easily been reporters making assumptions and feeding into the agent and player looking for top dollar. I’m not an economist nor do I play one on TV (others here are, I believe, so they are better suited to answer) but it seems to me that one less team is available for him. That lowers his market already.

    Further, that he did not sign for that top dollar already suggests those offers may not have been out there in the first place (though we did see that “slight blip of a lockout”…shall we say.) If he does end up getting the $30 million or whatever he was looking for per year, I doubt now he sees the length of contract he was supposedly holding out for.

    There was a lot of chatter around here when this process first started after the WS that the Yankees or Dodgers would surely offer him $200 million or something. That has not materialized. I find it very difficult to believe it will happen now.

  63. The Yanks could def use Freddie (they need lefty power), but they have so much money/years already wrapped up in Stanton & Cole (about $456M total for 7 more years each) — plus there’s the looming Judge contract after this season — that I just don’t see it with them.

  64. ^ That helps, he is definitely a quality reliever. Still hoping for another starter and OF bat.

  65. Maddux & Glavine were in their late 30s when the Braves let them go, and Aaron & Smoltz were in their 40s. Murphy was traded late in his age-34 season, but he had been mediocre for 2-1/2 years by then. Freeman is 32 and a lot closer to his peak, and it wouldn’t surprise me if he makes another All-Star team or two.

    I understand AA’s reasoning, but I still would’ve rather seen Freeman finish his career with the Braves, even if his contract hurt the team in his last couple of years. Hope he’s happy wherever he winds up. Too bad the Angels seem to have stopped giving out long-term high-$ contracts to players in their 30s – might be interesting for him to play with Trout & Ohtani and still be somewhat out of the Dodger spotlight.

  66. Braves’ mlb site makes McHugh sound like he can be a starter or reliever, saying he started 7 games last year. At this point in his career, it seems more likely that he’s a reliever who can occasionally serve as an opener and pitch 2 to 3 innings. Don’t get me wrong, I love the move, but it’s hard for me to classify him as a starter. This is a direct quote from the article: “With the addition of McHugh, the Braves have another candidate for a starting rotation that will include Charlie Morton, Max Fried and Ian Anderson.” Does anyone think that’s the case?

  67. @82, you are correct. Games “started” is very misleading in the modern game. McHugh is a reliever.

  68. McHugh seems like a terrific pickup and the exact kind of low-risk medium-ceiling commitment that AA loves making. He has a career K/BB of 3.5, and from 2017-2021 he’s started 27 games and thrown another 115 in relief with a 142 ERA+ and a 3.30 FIP and golly, it’s hard to get a guy like that for just 2 years and $10 million.

    Just to be completely clear, I’m not criticizing anything Alex Anthopoulos has done from a baseball point of view. I’m expressing a frustration that the budget isn’t higher, and that the risk aversion owing to that budget led the suits to make a bloodless decision to allocate not a penny more.

    The team is, now, inarguably stronger than it was two days ago. That’s thanks to AA’s brilliance as an executive. There’s also a tragic hole at the heart of the team that feels like it didn’t have to be this way.

  69. Murphy asked to be traded, but that wasn’t public knowledge to my much younger self at the time, and I didn’t like it. I think that’s when I moved into the for-the-laundry camp.

  70. Should someone say McHugh’s gonna be hurt half the time? He’s gonna be hurt half the time. He’ll probably be great when he’s healthy, and given the price tag, it’s still a good signing. Perhaps a sign of bullpen games to come.

  71. @80: You’re right about all of these, of course, but I don’t see how it makes it better. The sentimental choice is always to retain the player because he has, in some sense, earned that loyalty. The longer and more distinguished the tenure the more painful it should be to let them move on. Freddie’s loyalty to the team, production for the team, and struggles through the lean years are undeniable, but so are (and probably even more so) Aaron, Smoltz and Glavine. Wouldn’t it be even worse to cut Freddie loose if he were 37? Wouldn’t that be more callous? More “ungrateful?”

  72. Has Freddie’s agent maybe screwed up a little? His suitors are dropping like flies. You know the Rays aren’t going to go max AAV even on a one-year deal. His only hope at a huge deal has to be LA at this point, right?

  73. If I were Freddie, I’d cut my agent out of the loop and start calling Anthopolous daily. The door may not be closed.

  74. Yes, I’d say his agent has screwed this up a lot, particularly if you take Freddie at his work that his goal was to come back here.

    He seems to be running out of teams, and it’s entirely possible that he’s now left trying to get the Dodgers to negotiate against themselves, or maybe against the Rays offering a $30 million deal over one year or something.

  75. @95 Yes they will. I’ll pay each of them $100 to mow my 5 acre yard. There’s still plenty of money to be made.

  76. I don’t know if Freddie’s agent screwed things up, but there does seem to be a disconnect between his claim that he wanted to retire a Brave and the idea that ~$280 million in career earnings wasn’t enough (presuming a 5/$135-145 deal from ATL). That would have made him the highest paid Braves player in history if you merge the contracts.

    Maybe the lifer talk was bluster to get the Braves on the ball, i.e. “I don’t really want to go to free agency. Extend me.” But, they never did. And, he did make it to free agency, so it seemed like his calculus then shifted to extracting the most dollars out of the Braves. He may have gotten their top offer, but perhaps his advice was that there was more on the table. Los Angeles gets involved in the bidding, the lockout screws up the timeline, and the Braves give up.

    Worth noting: the accolades have piled up over the last few years, perhaps driving up his own idea of his value — he’s gone from a very good first basemen to arguably the best first baseman in the game.

    Also, more bluster from the agent: several pundits said he would sign quickly after the lockout, but here we are almost a week later.

    I do think this goes differently if (1) Covid had never been a thing and (2) there was no lockout. He was primed to be extended in 2020 but it looks like ownership didn’t want to talk big contracts until the post-pandemic revenues were clearer. And by then, Freddie was on the cusp of free agency. Ultimately, the lockout really shrunk the timeline to negotiate and AA had to read the tea leaves and make a move for Olson before he was left with Daniel Vogelbach playing first base.

  77. @98 It’s hard, at this point, not to believe that Freddie’s agent boofed this one a bit. I still think he takes home $180M+ from the Dodgers (or Angels? Red Sox?) but this is all certainly not panning out the way his camp thought it would.

    Too bad Freddie (or Matt Olson) aren’t a fit for LF or 3B – if we could resign Freddie and play Riley + Olson + Freeman between 1B, 3B and LF that would wrap this all up neatly in a bow.

  78. I think Freeman’s agent may have overplayed his hand some, but we will find out soon.

    I also am now pretty confident his agent is the one putting all the information out there. He is trying to keep a bidding war going. Last night the Padres “got involved” I can’t see them doing that without moving Hosmer.

  79. @98 – Agree with this post. I also think Freddie felt like he stayed loyal to the Braves during the rebuild and made his sacrifices at that time. After winning the World Series and seeing the overall health of the organization after some not so great years, he had no desire to give any kind of hometown discount.

    I won’t be shocked if Freeman ends up signing a deal that looks a lot closer to the numbers coming out of AA’s camp than Freeman’s camp.

  80. Who do we finish off roster with ..3 players … 1. starter 2. OF ( LH bat) and 3 . unility infielder .. my choices are for OF ( 1st choice – Rosario 2nd choice – Peterson ) and Untility both choices switchhitters ( 1st choice – Jed Lowrie 2nd choice – Jonathen Villar ) …. now the tough one ..Starting Pitcher – how much does Grienke have left , Duffy ?? ..what do you all think as far choices and what is left as far as starters ..I dont see us trading anymore prospects away … so I think these 3 positions will be free agent signings … what is your opinion ?? The only thing I could see otherwisw is a dump of Ozuna a little contract for a CF type player in a trade …

  81. My expectations are that a bunch of teams “getting involved” are actually teams pulling an AA and checking his interest in signing a high AAV one-year deal. (This is probably also the extent of the Braves’ supposed pre-lockout interest in Carlos Correa.)

    If Freddie does end up having to sign for less than he’s expecting, whoever does sign him will get a steal. I’m on record as thinking he’ll age exceptionally gracefully for a first baseman.

  82. Obviously, I have no info as to where Freddie’s negotiations stand. But a one year deal as various other windows are closing and spring training begins in earnest, allowing him to kick the can down the road a year, is starting to look like a really good option. The only real risk is that a bad year really hurts him while a good year doesn’t help him much at all.

  83. @105 That would be just a crazy turn of events for him. I am sure that option wasn’t near his expectation when this process began.

  84. Rosario’s back, apparently.

    The literal only knock on Freddie is his age. It’s not like he’s coming off an injury or down season and needs to prove he can still play. Taking a one year deal just puts him back in this situation again next year, with age leaning that much more strongly against him.

  85. Freddie reminds me of my dog. My dog is 9 years old. Obviously I didn’t know my dog when I met him as a puppy. And in fact, we actually went to get another dog we saw the day before, but he got adopted. But nonetheless, my dog and I have made long-lasting memories. I may love my dog more than anyone or anything on this earth. One day, I’ll probably out-live my dog, and I’ll have to say goodbye to him. That might be the hardest day of my life. But I will get another dog, we will form the same beautiful memories, and shoot, I might even name him Chipper too.

    I didn’t know who Freddie was before he came to Atlanta. But after thousands of at bats, plays in the field, GIF moments, and post-game interviews, I made a lot of memories with Freddie, and I will miss him as a Brave. I don’t have any memories with Matt Olson, but I will. He’ll hit walk offs, he’ll make great plays in the field, and he’ll probably be funny and charming and a great teammate and leader. And for the next 8 (probably 9) years, I’ll form those same bonds with Olson that I formed with Freddie and my dog Chipper.

  86. Acuna, Rosario, Swanson, Ozuna, Olson, Duvall, d’Arnaud, and Riley

    This offense might hit 300 home runs lmao

    @99, thanks Rob.

  87. @111 I feel like this story would be more applicable if you re-homed Chipper and went got another dog, and then periodically saw Chipper across town while you’re out riding around with your new dog.

  88. With Olson, McHugh, and Rosario, AA might be done. What a whirlwind. AA is doing a great job.

    If that $15M number was good, the combination of McHugh and Rosario comes in under that leaving room for other minor additions. $2M?

    @112 Albies?

    Leaning on Waters/Heredia until Acuna is ready seems like a really good option to begin the year.

    I like the idea of Swanson and Waters at the bottom of the lineup – fast guys when the lineup is rolling over.

  89. @110 DOB gave the ole “best shape of his life” endorsement for Ozuna.

    Considering the risk of non-tender basically creating a walk year, Dansby might have a big year for his standards. Ozzie, Ronnie, Riley, and Olson are one of the best cores of any lineup in the league. Rosario is healthy. d’Arnaud is healthy for now. Duvall mashes for CF. It will be a very, very good lineup.

  90. @113 Shut up, Donny. :) I mean, yes, the story is not completely applicable. Freddie Freeman did not die. But the point is that players come and go, like dogs. And you have an attachment to said players because of the memories that are created when they play for your team. Lots of memories will be created with Olson.

  91. @114 With Olson, McHugh, and Rosario, AA might be done. What a whirlwind. AA is doing a great job.

    If that $15M number was good, the combination of McHugh and Rosario comes in under that leaving room for other minor additions. $2M?

    I think you’re right that he’s done now, but the number is probably higher and will be used at the deadline.

  92. I’m not the world’s biggest Rosario fan, honestly. I think he’s a little overrated as a result of his unreal postseason — he was non-tendered a year ago by a team trying to compete, and not unjustly. Not sure I’d have done two years.

    That said, he’s about the best player the Braves could get in this price bracket, and the team looks good for 2022, anyway.

  93. So the initial (sans Acuna) lineup might look like

    Rosario LF
    Ozuna DH
    Olson 1B
    Riley 3B
    Albies 2B
    Duvall RF
    TdA C
    Swanson SS
    Waters/Heredia CF

    With Acuna

    Acuna RF
    Rosario LF
    Ozuna DH
    Olson 1B
    Riley 3B
    Albies 2B
    Duvall CF
    TdA C
    Swanson SS

    Either way, this is absurdly good.

  94. He’s a bat-only guy, sure, but he has roughly the same career length (2015 debut) and the same career WAR (12.4-12.5) as Kyle Schwarber. And we got him for half the years and less than half the AAV.

    Schwarber’s a better hitter — higher OBP and slugging, though a significantly worse batting average — but I’d also expect Kyle’s bad body and old player skills to age more poorly.

    I like this.

  95. Excellent work by Anthopolous all the way around.

    As always, time will tell.

    Braves are looking good right now. Mets will be tough and it will be interesting to see if the lolMets finally runs out. Eventually they’re going to be good, you’d have to think.

  96. I’m curious as to the specifics of the non-guaranteed major league deal, which is apparently what we signed Dickerson to. I guess that means that if we cut him we don’t owe him the rest of the contract? Or if he gets sent down to AAA, he’s on AAA salary?

  97. I’m sure they see Rosario as a good fit. He just needs to give his typical 100-110 wRC+ and mediocre defense to be worth this money.


    So I guess Baseball Savant is overlapping Olson’s spray chart with Truist Park’s dimensions in the graphic to the right towards the top of the screen? That’s convenient, because that’s what I was trying to re-create. At any rate, I count 10 balls that would have been a home run at Truist and were doubles wherever they were hit in those cavernous ballparks in Oakland and in the AL West.

    Bottom line: Olson is going to rake at Truist Park.

  99. There’s still $ and I’d wager there’s at least $10MM. However, I think the Braves can do some logjammed pitchers a service by packaging a few of them for a mid-rotation starter. IMO, it’s time to give 2 or 3 of Touki, Tucker, Muller, Newcomb, Wright, or Soroka new life.

  100. Been a long time since I have posted. I still see some guys on here from the Mac Thomason days. That is awesome. So, I’ve been lurking. Y’all are awesome. I want to get more active here.

    Alex Anthopolous has done a great job this off season. I think the sign and trade for Olson is a terrific move and the prototype for moves going forward. Olson gets payed and the Braves get his best years and pay for only a couple of decline years. Its a win win for both parties.

    I sure hope that Freddie Freeman didn’t overestimate his market. I want him to get payed. As sad as I am that he won’t retire a Brave he will always be one of the great ones.

  101. Dickerson looks like a solid left handed bat off the bench. Last year was a down year, but overall I think he can be a good left handed answer to Heredia, but not as versatile.

  102. I think more Almonte than Heredia, but agree that he seems like a reasonable left-handed pinch hitter. Basically, Matt Joyce. Limited value, but statistically significant value. Seems like a reasonable target.

  103. @132 I think Mike Minor could fit that description both in terms of quality innings pitched and in cost. Question is what will the Reds do with him now that they have him.

  104. Don’t we still need a utility infielder and a starter ?? Arcia is the only infielder sub we have …

  105. Lineup with Acuna

    Albies, 2b
    Riley, 3b
    Olson, 1b
    Ozuna, dh
    Rosario. Lf
    Duvall. Cf
    D’Arnaud, C

  106. @139 against righties I think you’d flip Rosario and Albies in the lineup, but otherwise I like it!

  107. On his podcast, DOB says the Braves have no real timeline on Soroka and it sounded like they’d be happy if he pitched a couple times in September to build his confidence going into the offseason.

  108. Tyler Thornburg in the house. As predicted, AA is now doing mop-up work trying to find bargains at bargain rates.

  109. Thornburg had a great 2016. Since then he’s barely pitched 50 innings, and very few of those effectively. I’m not exactly counting on him to be our iron man in the bullpen.

  110. @146 our bullpen looks very deep once the RH we signed before the lockout gets back. This is depth and a flyer, trying to catch lightning in a bottle.

  111. Also, apparently the Cubs signed Seiya Suzuki. I was still kinda thinking about him, though obviously a lot less relevant post-Rosario signing. Cubs paid $85MM for 5 years, with a posting fee of nearly $15MM apparently. That’s definitely too rich for me at this point.

  112. Seven years, $182 million for Kris Bryant. I’d rather have Freeman.

  113. Did the Rockies really just give Kris Bryant $26 million a year over seven years? Yikes!

  114. I’m surprised Bryant got that amount. I would’ve thought Freddie would get a bigger contract than Bryant, but now I’m not so sure.

    I’m also interested to see who signs Soler. I think he’s a better player than Rosario. But I like AA signings these past few days.

  115. Rosenthal reports 6/~$160, if finalized.

    The Braves were reportedly at 5/$135-145. Was a sixth year really that much of a sticking point for both sides?


  116. Was hoping FF was going to American league …. but guess we are stuck with Dodgers high lights and reports of how bad the Braves are for letting him go .. Braves offered him a similar offer . But he chose to leave … he was holding out and putting Braves in a bad spot .. forcing their hand .. .

  117. @155, if that’s true I’ll be disgusted with both sides that they couldn’t get a deal done. Disgusted with the Braves for not just giving the extra year, and disgusted with Freeman for letting that be the difference between finishing his career in Atlanta and not.

  118. Peanut reports 6/$162 is done.

    It’s embarrassing that both sides would blow up the relationship (after winning the WS, no less) to settle on this deal with LA.

    Surely there has to be more to the story.

  119. I really don’t see much of a difference between 5/140 and a 6/162 contract. It all doesn’t make much sense to me, something doesn’t add up.

    Olsen and Freddie will be inextricably linked now. I hope for Olsen’s sake he starts off quickly in Atlanta.

  120. To me, this says that Freddie never intended to sign with Atlanta. According to Heyman he had a higher offer from another team. He’s from LA, his Dad lives there and just built a mansion there. I hope Braves fans can now stop blaming Braves ownership.

  121. Say what you want about Chipper Jones, but he never would have done that.

    They’ll forever be on different tiers for me now.

  122. I suspect Freddie’s asking price went down once the Braves, Yankees and Blue Jays picked up Olson, Rizzo and Chapman.

    When your bidders are down to the Dodgers and Rays, your leverage is all but gone.

    At least Chelsea got what she wanted…

  123. Blaming Freddie’s wife for this is more than a little questionable to me.

    It seems clear to me that the Braves had a number on Freddie that they were not willing to go beyond under any circumstances, and were hoping he wouldn’t find anything better out there and would settle. When it was clear that wasn’t going to happen, they moved on. With his first choice off the table (and let’s not forget that the Braves moved on from him first), he surveyed his remaining options, and the Dodgers have to look pretty good for him under those circumstances — they’ve got the money, they’re a consistent competitor, and they’re close to home. Rivalries are for fans. This is his last opportunity to get a big contract after playing on below-market deals his entire career and doing nothing but perform, with a blemishless record as a player, teammate, and person. After five years or six, if he wants to keep playing after this contract he’s probably looking at one-year deals for the rest of his career. Of course he was looking to maximize his last big payday.

    I wish him the best of luck, except against the Braves. I hate that it ended like this, and I’m still not sure the Braves got the better end of it.

  124. I don’t blame Freddie or the Braves. 22 million dollars is 22 million dollars.

    I believe that the Braves made a decent attempt to sign Freeman despite some of he reporting. 5 years at 140 ain’t chump change.

    Freeman went for the most money. I don’t blame him at all.

    Credit Alex for moving quickly and decisively once it became apparent thats what Freeman was doing.

  125. @164 I was just being snarky. I’m sure Freddie is happy to be in California too. I just think he was expecting more $$$ is all.

    @165 I think if the Braves offered 6/$180 he’d be in a Braves uniform.

  126. If Freddie was going to wear another uniform, I’m pleased it’s the Dodgers. That’s because our youngest granddaughter (18 months old) was born and will be raised in Los Angeles. She will be a Dodgers fan, or at least attend a lot of games in Dodger Stadium. Her parents consist of one die hard Braves fan and one equally rabid Yankees fan. Dodger blue for their child is something of a compromise. (Her two older cousins live four miles from Truist Park and love the Braves)

    That’s pretty idiosyncratic, of course, but aren’t all fan loyalties this way to some extent? It’s been interesting to me to monitor reactions on this site to the Freeman/Olson developments–including my own. (BTW, I don’t recommend scrolling comments on Battery Power fka Talking Chop). I really wanted the Braves to resign Freddie. But within a day or so of the trade for Olson and the quick extension, I’m now fully on board and I even believe the Braves will likely be stronger than they would have been. I share AAR’s frustration that the payroll isn’t higher, but given the apparent constraints AA operates under, he is the best GM in the game. I trust him now more than ever.

    We’ve commented here before how fandom plays out so differently among individuals. Some are naturally pessimistic, while others tend to see the bright and hopeful side. I’m temperamentally in the latter camp. My age and history with the team also explains my reaction to these developments. I’ve been an Atlanta Braves fan since the day they announced the move from Milwaukee. As several here have noted, every star player, including the HOFers, with one exception, have moved on to other teams. Chipper’s staying with the team is the exception. But for fans who came of age in the last 15 years, he and Freddie have been the true stars, and some may have expected FF to follow Chipper’s example. It may well be that Freddie wanted to go to LA all along for personal reasons–and good for him!

    In fact, Chipper and the two catchers of 40 years ago–Benedict and Pocoroba–are the only Atlanta Braves to spend at least ten years with the club and never wear another uniform. There is only one other such player in franchise history, whose name I forget, but it wasn’t Warren Spahn.

    Many here have noted that Aaron, Niekro, Murphy, Glavine, Maddux, and Smoltz all left–some willingly, some not so–after putting in HOF caliber careers in the Braves uniform. For me, the first lesson in moving on was after the very first season in Atlanta. In 1966, the Braves traded Eddie Mathews, who had been just about as big a star as Aaron up to that point: finished second in MVP twice, led team to WS championship. By most measures, he was comparable to Chipper. But by 1966 his aging curve appeared to be in steep decline. Still, for 11 year old me, the trade was heart breaking. I was angry when they traded Rico Carty. I had similar feelings as JonathanF when they traded Mr. Aaron (the fact that he asked for the trade only made me feel worse). And getting rid of Niekro when he clearly had some good years left also stung.

    Since then, though, I think I’ve changed. I really do root for the team and those who are currently on it, and I haven’t cared much when guys move on, so long as the team is strong. I’m as excited about the upcoming season as I’ve ever been.

  127. Does anyone remember if the Braves tried to sign Jayson Heyward to a long term contract at the same time they signed Freeman?

    I ask because I saw that the Cubs signed Suzuki to play RF.

  128. He didn’t want to be here. Oh well. I’ve moved on.
    Once Acuna is back, I like our lineup better. Plus, they have Dave Roberts.

    I can’t pull for a Dodger.

  129. @169–When the Braves signed Freddie to the 8 year contract, they chose not to offer a long term deal to Heyward. They only bought out his last two years of arbitration.

    I thought they had made a big mistake. I didn’t think Freddie would age well, and that Jason was the overall better player, considering his excellent plate discipline and superior fielding and baserunning. Shows, once again, what I know.

  130. @171 – Ok, your recollection is the same as mine. I couldn’t remember if Heyward turned down an offer. In any case it all worked out for the Braves and Heyward.

    @170 – I guess I am a laundry guy. The team is better IMHO and that is what counts the most for me.

  131. Once you adjust for state income tax and cost of living, then I don’t know how anyone can argue that Atlanta wasn’t either right there or really close. So if Atlanta was very close, especially per annually, and they knew that Olson wanted to be here long term and for less, then they clearly made the right decision.

    Very happy for Freddie, but his star has dimmed a little with me. With that said, Atlanta has a tremendous advantage being the flagship franchise of the southeast US, which probably really helps them keep guys like Chipper for their entire career. That had no value to Freddie. Moving on.

  132. Isn’t it possible that both the Braves and FF wanted to move on? ATL might have been more focused on getting a younger guy with similar skills locked up long term, and Freddie may have just wanted to get back to California (for him and his wife) and play with a perennial WS contender. The extra year was probably gravy for him. And I wonder if finally winning the WS with Atlanta–and hitting a homer in his last at-bat–drew a natural dividing line in the minds all concerned. Perhaps that line became clearer during the lock out, while everyone had time to reflect.

    Don’t get me wrong: while I am pleased (sort of) for tfloyd–as well as my friend, Ilene, an LA native and life-long Dodgers fan–the thought of FF playing for them turns my stomach. That feeling has nothing to do with the mostly positive way I regard Matt Olson being a Brave–though I can’t shake this sense that Freddie is the better hitter because of his ability to hit with power to anywhere part of the park, and that he will age fairly gracefully.

    Ultimately, though, I’m wondering if, all things considered, neither side tried that hard to strike a deal.

  133. @172 yep! Go Laundry!

    Someone very wise once told me “You shouldn’t want to to be with someone who doesn’t want to be with you.”

  134. So now that we know the terms of Freddie’s deal (6/$162) and Olson’s extension (8/$168) we can compare the two: Olson is signed for two additional seasons (2028-29) after Freddie’s deal expires for $6M total plus a $20M team option for 2030 (Olson’s age-36 season). In order to acquire Olson, the Braves lost four valuable prospects.

    If Freddie had been willing to sign with the Braves for 6/$162M, I’d have much preferred making that deal over the Olson transaction. It’s hard for me to believe (but certainly possible) that Freddie was asking more from the Braves before they pulled the trigger on the Olson trade – like 6/$180M or something. IMO, it doesn’t make any sense to look at FF and flat-out refuse to sign him for a 6th season, assuming the dollars are reasonable. I can only hope that the Braves didn’t pass on a chance to sign FF for the same deal the Dodgers got.

    Long story short – I am going to mourn the loss of Freddie for a while. He was super fun to watch and root for. I’ll root for him in LA as long as he’s not facing the Braves, and I hope those dumb Dodgers don’t take his hugs for granted!

  135. I think Freddie wanted that 6th year that the Braves weren’t willing to give him, and that the Dodgers were able to offer a lower AAV than they would have if the Braves had not left the bidding process.

    Also, I suspect that they wanted to be in California.

  136. @178
    Remember the compensation pick the braves get for not signing FF. That slightly reduces the prospect cost of the Olson deal.

    Sad situation but it is what it is. I wish the worst for the Dodgers as a team.

  137. tfloyd is correct.

    At some point someone will write a memoir that says what really happened in March of 2022. At some point after that, maybe years later, someone else will figure out how accurate that memoir is. I’m fine with all of it, as long as the Braves never lose another baseball game, and the Dodgers never win another one…. but then again that’s all I’ve asked for since 1966. And to be honest, if I could have the first part, I’m willing to compromise a teeny bit on the second part for Freddie’s sake.

    Someone in the last day or two popped in to say how surprised he was that Braves fans appear to have moved on so quickly. First, I think it was always a mistake to listen to people who make statements of the form “If X, then I’m done with baseball.” There will always be such people, and probably 10 percent or so them carry out their threats, and 1 percent of them permanently. Second, both baseball and life teach us that there are two sides to disagreements, and it is the rare circumstance when the story has only one side — and this definitely isn’t one of those rare circumstances. Third, AA has made sweet, sweet lemonade, dare I say Kool Aid, from these unsavory ingredients and we are all now ready to drink deeply.
    There are dozens of way this could have gone badly wrong, and even if this isn’t everyone’s preferred outcome, it’s a hell of a lot better than it could been… and it’s hard to see how anyone could deny it.

  138. @178 What we think we know is that the Braves and Freeman were at least 22 million dollars apart. That is not insignificant.

  139. @180 good point, I thought the comp pick system was removed by CBA rule changes, but it turns out that is not the case (for this offseason). According to this, the Braves will be awarded a pick to occur after Competitive Balance Round B (for background: Competitive Balance Round A is between draft rounds 1 – 2 and Round B between draft rounds 2 – 3).

    Based on that link, I believe the Dodgers’ penalty for signing Freddie is that they “will lose its second- and fifth-highest selections in the following year’s Draft, as well as $1 million from its international bonus pool for the upcoming signing period. If such a team signs multiple qualifying-offer free agents, it will forfeit its third- and sixth-highest remaining picks as well.

    Teams in this group this offseason: Dodgers and Padres.”

    So, uhhh, suck it Dodgers?

  140. @181 Context is everything when it comes to matters of love and loss. Those people who said they would quit baseball were probably imagining a scenario where Freddie really wanted to remain a Brave and the money tight Braves did anything they could to distance themselves from discussions of the home town star. That doesn’t appear to have been the case since Atlanta was rumored to be the strongest bidder until… until they suddenly acquired Olson and promptly gave him roughly in the same ballpark the deal Freeman eventually got. It doesn’t make any sense to be mad at the Braves or baseball because the team was clearly willing to spend the dollars — they literally did, and they basically got very close to the same thing as Freddie Freeman.

    It sucks, but it looks like it could work out. We arguably spent a lot more going down this road, but then so did the Dodgers who are effectively having to pay about ~$35M/year to have Freeman, taxes included.

    In the end it was a beautiful messy war of baseball economics, and we were not so tight on money that we wouldn’t fire our cannons. Oh we did fire those cannons and the thunder of the booms was a beautiful sound to hear. When you can’t retain the #1 1B in baseball, getting the #3 is about the same.

  141. #181
    I have a friend in Jersey who’s a lifelong Mets fan. When the Mets traded Tom Seaver to Cincinnati in 1977, he swore he was done with the Mets and, because he could never root for the Yankees, he was done with the game.

    Of course, that lasted until Gooden & Strawberry showed up in Flushing.

  142. I am happy for Freddie and will always appreciate his accomplishments here in Atlanta and the way he handled his business. He was a pro in every way. But he’s gone now, a Dodger, and I really like our new guy and the team the front office is fielding. After a long winter of labor disputes and contract talks, I’m just ready to watchband talk some baseball now.

  143. I was one of those right after the Series saying “Pay the man his money” and I maintain that stance even though it is now water under the bridge. I was also one that got over it pretty quickly once the writing was on the wall and AA traded for Olsen and extended him (which many here thought would not happen.) I posted in this very thread (quite a long one now) that after that event, FF’s market would be reduced and it looks like it has (somewhat.)

    We will never know honestly what happened here but we can make our own suppositions. The facts are these – In the next six years we will be paying Olsen $21 million AAV and during that same span of time, the Dodgers will be paying FF $27 million AAV (not sure where that $35M/year figure comes from above – the Dodgers ain’t paying his taxes too.) Olsen is here where he supposedly wants to be. FF will be in LA and where he supposedly wants to be. Those differences in money are not insignificant.

    As I said before, emotionally it sucks. I wanted Freddie here until he retired. I didn’t even care about the inevitable decline. As often stated – it’s not our money. I wanted Liberty to step up and pay the man. But we know it is a business as much as a game and I’m happy if FF is happy even if it means he plays for the evil Dodgers. And for the Braves, the team is younger and still hungry. And with a healthier budget. Thanks to AA for that. The Dodgers? Good for them. They are still on the hook for $40M+ for a pitcher who still will not play at this moment. I guess if you’ve got the money…go ahead and spend it.

    If Freddie wanted to be there, then he got his wish. We, as fans, move on. I remain skeptical of the entire MLB power structure (cannot stand Manfred) and how they run the game, but when my team hits the field I will root for them.

  144. @188 Revenue sharing. Payroll taxes. I think it was Spotrac where I saw that the Freeman signing is a ~$37M/year impact to their payroll even though they are only paying him $27M AAV.

  145. To the folks looking at AAV and wondering why the two sides couldn’t come together on a deal, it’s clear that the thing that mattered most to him (in terms of the contract, at least) was the sixth year. The thing that mattered the most to the Braves was not doing the sixth year. As such, I’m not sure the two sides were all that close, even if it looks like they were if you look at AAV.

  146. Freeman is a really good baseball player who appears to be an even better human being. That is a true rarity today. I was expecting a reasonably likeable two year player in Olson who started the revolving door of 1st basemen until we found a prospect that realized his potential. With the 8 year deal, he’s set up for a longer run than Freddie. He also seems like a great guy. He’ll never be Freddie Freeman, but he doesn’t have to be. He just can’t be Ozuna!

  147. @190 Another way of looking at it is that his expectations were higher when Atlanta was still in the bidding. His market lost a bunch of steam the past couple of days. A lot of folks think the Freeman camp played themselves.

  148. @192

    I’m one of them, though it seems they didn’t wind up playing themselves as badly as I thought. They got their sixth year, which I would have guessed was not still possible.

  149. Eh, the smack talk on social media towards Chelsea Freeman is kind of cringe. Fans should really avoid that…

    Only time will tell who got the better end of the deal.

    Personally, I can’t understand either side ending a 15-year relationship over a disagreement of one year… five years from now. I hope AA takes questions and gives some candid responses on their positions and offers.

  150. Our trade for Olson took us out of the Freddie market, but it also took LA and others out of the Olson sweepstakes, which arguably improved FF’s leverage. Probably a wash, all things considered.

  151. @194 — Agreed, but he’s not going to. AA is too much of a pro to talk out of class, and I doubt Freddie is in hurry to discuss it either. It’ll probably be years, if ever, before we know the real story of what went down and who offered what when.

    Regarding Heyward, as I remember it the Braves offered he and Freeman similar (if not identical) deals, but Freddie took it and Heyward (who was closer to free agency and expected, correctly, that he could get a monster payday there) turned it down. I often wonder what things would be like if the situation had been reversed, or if both of them had taken it. With both Heyward and Freeman under contract (as well as Simmons, Kimbrel, and Teheran), the team might have been more hesitant than it was to blow everything up and dive headlong into a full rebuild… but assuming Heyward’s career trajectory looked the same, an extension of a similar magnitude to the one Freddie took would have looked disastrous fairly quickly, and the rebuild might have been merely delayed rather than averted.

  152. But aren’t some of the contract details leaked? Like the reported offer at 5 years 135 million. Does some reporter just make that up?

  153. @198. This sounds similar to the story of McCann and Francoeur back in 2006-07. Not sure what we offered Francoeur, but obviously things (again) turned out favorably in terms of who ended up here long term.

  154. I remember the Heyward situation so well because I was frustrated that the club would not extend him. Again, the GM was right and I was wrong. Of course, the Cubs made the same miscalculation that I did. His big contract with them was one of the worst of the decade.

  155. The thought process of the Braves and Freeman not agreeing to a deal because the Braves refused to offer the 6th year seems crazy to me. They offered roughly the same amount of $$. Would you rather work the next 5 years or the next 6 years for the same amount of money?? He wasn’t coming back to Atlanta and that was his right. AA figured out he wasn’t coming back and THEN moved on. The Braves will likely be a better team over the next years because they got a younger and cheaper 1b. Matt and Eddie will earn together approximately the same amount as Freddie was offered.

    Now sign Pineda for the rotation.

  156. @199 — Leaks are one thing; the GM calling a press conference to announce details of free agent negotiations that never resulted in anything substantive is quite another. He might want to acquire another client of Freddie’s agent someday (or Freddie himself; who knows what the future might hold); no point in airing dirty laundry in public. Especially when the only thing he would gain out of such a move is the fans feeling better about his actions. You won’t hear anything from AA aside from boilerplate “We thought we made a competitive offer, obviously Freddie and his representation decided to go elsewhere, we’re happy to have Matt Olson as our first baseman going forward” comments — certainly not a detailed blow-by-blow.

    @201 — I must have misremembered then.

  157. Soroka avoided arb. AA is very efficient. Now that he’s filled out the team, he’s signing the arb eligibles. AA is on a roll. I don’t see another addition before the trade deadline.

    I’d like to think that the best teams will more or less keep a roster spot open for one big prospect opportunity. It could be on the field (Waters), in the rotation (Davidson/Muller/Wright), or in the bullpen (Lee/someone). Whoever has the best spring is likely to get a shot. I don’t think there will be any more significant additions. Last year Pache got a shot and didn’t work out. We still won the WS.

    Can you imagine how good this team will be if Waters or Harris gets a shot and gets hot? What have you got to lose when you have Acuna, Yates, and Soroka coming back eventually?

  158. @205 I see at least one more addition, maybe two. I think they will pick up a starting pitcher, and he may not be done with the OF. These are likely late spring training additions if they occur.

  159. Waters finished last year in AAA with 11 homers, a .240 batting average, and a. 710 ops. This wasn’t a small sample size in 404 at bats. Harris definitely looked a little better, but I don’t see him making the jump from Rome to Atlanta.

    Both of those guys may turn out to be MVP candidates in a few years, but I don’t care if they hit .500 with a 2.000 ops this spring. There is no way they are ready for Atlanta to start the year.

  160. If you believe the $15M number after Olson was signed, then AA has spent about $15M since then on Rosario, McHugh, Thornburg, and Dickerson, of which about $2M is not guaranteed. I think he’s pretty much done unless the arb salaries come in less than expected.

    Waters and several starting pitchers are already on the 40-man roster. Someone will break camp with the team and get a shot.

  161. @209 I don’t believe that $15M number. The words “probably” and “about” were beside that number. I have sources that have been reliable so far who’ve said there’s more like another $20M remaining (bringing the total to $175M).

    AA usually leaves money for the deadline, so the $15M we saw after the Olson signing may have been referring to a fair educated guess on what’s left to spend for the off-season, I’ll give him that. However, we went into the off-season looking for a starting pitcher (made an offer to Verlander) and there’s no reason to think we won’t pick up someone affordable ahead of the opener.

  162. @204 David Samson, who during the lockout sucked me back into his show so I could get his take on stuff, said yesterday that if AA started specifically talking about a FA he was no longer negotiating with, the union could have a grievance. He’s a cynical person, but he also thinks AA was shedding alligator tears. I’m inclined to agree; AA is a pro, and a darned good one, and it’s not his job to massage Freddie’s ego for several weeks (months). I think when he saw the Freddie thing going south, he became a bloodhound with Olson and stopped caring about Freddie a while ago.

  163. @211 Awfully short video. Good to catch Bama, Clemson, and OSU all in down years.

    Thoughts on Mike White?

  164. For the music lovers, this documentary was wonderful:

    The Nightingales are a British band that goes back to the original punk era — they and their predecessor, the Prefects, are essentially Birmingham’s equivalent to the Fall from Manchester — but they never received the accolades of the Fall. However, they’re still kicking, and are pretty inarguably better than ever. Really cool story.

  165. Who are the starting pitchers gonna be ?? Aren’t we short 1 starter ??? Also aren’t we short another middle infielder ??? Arcia is our only player who can play 3b, ss, 2b we have always had 2 of those type guys….

  166. I also have a sense that we have a few more moves coming and possibly a significant trade involving guys like Touki, Newcombe and Ozuna. Does anyone have an idea of what our balance of pitchers and hitters will be given the designated hitter and the 26 man roster?

  167. Ryan Goins can play 2B. If Goins, Arcia and one of Ozzie/Dansby goes down then a journeyman can play for the minimum. Or maybe Braden Shewmake has a great spring and jumps into a backup role.

    I count three starters (Morton, Fried, Anderson) plus pick two from Ynoa, Davidson, Wright, Muller, Toussaint.

  168. Well, if we sign Soler then we can trade Ozuna to the Padres. The projection for Soler was higher than Rosario including that Soler might get a 3-year deal. I think that will not happen with the Braves.

    I’m not sure who else there is to sign. I suppose a trade could change the calculus but almost all of the interesting FA are signed now (we’re not signing Story or Correa or even Castellanos and not Conforto with the QO attached). Soler is about it.

    Ooh, we could bring Folty back….. yeah…..

  169. @217 I was thinking we needed another backup IF too, but with the DH now there’s only 4 bench slots. So as it stands now probably Arcia, Heredia, Dickerson, Pina. I agree it’s weird but there’s basically no room for another utility man.

    I don’t think we need another starter. Pencil in Ynoa at 4, let the young guys fight for #5 spot, and bet on Soroka coming back strong.

    And please dump Ozuna.

  170. Guess we are done then … 4 reserves , 9 starters = 13 and 13 pitchers … although bench is not a strong bench … but the starters will log alot of innings barring injury … Heredia late inning defense , Dickerson late inning pinch hitter but (who in our lineup would you pinch hot for ?? – lol noone … the DH is gonna take getting used too ..Im not gonna want to see Arcia, Dickerson, Pina or Heredia hit for any guys in our lineup …. not sure of they are shopping Ozuna or not .. very possible .. he is a good hitter .. Soler or Ozuna ??? hhhmmmmm ..both bad outfielders … i would try to dump Ozuna contract but Im sure we would have to kick in some money to get him gone …

  171. I suppose as it stands Dickerson or Heredia will be starting until Acuna gets back. One of them may go after that. I’ll be surprised if we don’t carry 2 bench infielders.

  172. Re-watching Game 6 highlights… Freddie’s shot to left-center in his final at-bat, catching the final out. Man, it hit me hard that he’s not coming back.

  173. @220 I would prefer Soler to Ozuna because, character issues aside (if one can even set them aside), Soler can kinda play the OF whereas Ozuna basically cannot – and it would be nice to have some potential flexibility at DH. That said, signing Soler and flipping Ozuna feels like a luxury more than a need right now, and we don’t really have salary or roster room to take on Soler without getting rid of Ozuna. I think the Braves would be fine starting the season with Ozuna at DH, Duvall in CF, Rosario in LF/RF, and Dickerson/Heredia platooning in the other OF corner.

    The early word on Acuna is that he can come back as DH around April 21st and then to the field around May 21st. My guess is Acuna’s return would push Ozuna out to LF in order to keep his bat in the lineup most days (Rosario to RF), and once Acuna can play the field he’d move to RF and Rosario to LF, Ozuna back to DH.

    It would absolutely solve a lot of the problems for the Braves if Waters and/or Shewmake take a step forward this season to fill potential 2023 holes at CF and SS.

    At this point the biggest need for the team is probably one more good starting pitcher. Hopefully Ynoa steps up to be the #4, it may be too much to ask for our internal candidates to also generate a useful #5 starter but the Braves could paper over that problem for a while with a rotation of callups + McHugh on #5 starter days.

  174. Soler is such a hard guy to pin down. The elite power and bat speed is so sexy, but it feels like the margin between a contract being a steal or being a bust is very fine for him, much finer than most players, but I’d totally take him back on something like 2/$22 with a year three option.

  175. @227 — agree on Soler and Ozuna ..I dont think anyone would want to take on that publicity hit .. the only was is if Braves paid a portion of his contract and if they did they wouldnt have the money for Soler .. so we may be stuck with Ozuna .. one thing is for sure this team has taken the pound , pound approach .. cause defense in OF will probably be worse in a long time .. but its a price you have to pay … I like this approach .. sure there may be a few more gappers against us but … yes be nice if Waters came into his own with his speed and be used instead of Dickerson ..what we all have to realize ..PH specialty is not gonna be a premium .. not one guy on our bench do I want pinch hitting for any of our regulars regardless of whos pitching … so they will only be there for injury or defense replacement or spell a starter here and there …

  176. I really like the idea of Soler. It’s true, as sdp says, that he may not work out, but the Soler we had last year was a terrific hitter. The main reason was that he all of a sudden demonstrated new found selectivity at the plate. I haven’t checked the stats to confirm, but he rarely chased out of the zone and drew more walks. And for pitches in the zone he hits the ball as hard as anyone.

    Can you sign him and also keep Ozuna? I like the idea of Ronald, Duvall, Rosario, Soler, and Ozuna sharing four spots in the lineup. It’s what the Dodgers would do. In that scenario you’d also keep Heredia as defensive replacement and dugout swashbuckler. That leaves no room for Dickerson, but he has an option left.

    I assume, however, the Braves can’t afford to pay Soler and Ozuna (or rather, they won’t). I also assume you can’t trade Ozuna without taking back salary, so I’m not expecting a Soler signing.

  177. A couple more roster thoughts:

    I’ve been assuming with Rusty that they will carry more than one person (Arcia) who can back up at second, short, and third. But maybe not. You don’t need a pinch hitter for anyone in this lineup. It will be good for Albies, Swanson, and Riley to get occasional days off, but playing Arcia once a week in one of those three spots is good enough. If one of them goes down for any length of time you call up someone (Goins?) from AAA. Now, if more than one is hurt in the same game, it will be fun to see which of our of/dh types fills in for a few innings at second or third.

    Any talk of Waters as a possibility this year is unrealistic. He may yet be a big league hitter, but his numbers at AAA last year were pretty dreadful. He’s got a long way to go. On the other hand, I suspect they are hoping Harris will be ready for the show some time in 2023. But he also needs a good deal more time in the high minors.

    As to the rotation, filling the last two spots with two of Ynoa, Wright, Davidson, Touki, or Muller may work, but I fully expect AA is on the lookout for a veteran to add depth to the rotation, as he did with Anibal Sanchez at the end of spring training a few years ago.

  178. I suspect that the truncated spring training is going to present a big opportunity for those organizations with better scouting resources. There are going to be a lot of decisions made with very little in the way of actual results. That’s true every year, but it’s going to be more obvious this year.

  179. I assume we can sign Soler and sign another pitcher and keep Ozuna. We may ship Ozuna some time during the season if he is off to a hot start, but the more depth the better especially in the OF, so maybe we won’t.

    The interest in Soler is there for a couple of reasons.

  180. I am, admittedly, quite biased, but I’d love for Wright to get a real rotation shot. I missed the chatter and analysis here on it, but his 4 2/3 relief innings in the Series were magical. It seems plausible that what he really needed was a year to be left alone as a starter (as Snitker alluded to), and then adding the confidence that must come when you shine in your one return opportunity on that stage…I dunno. Just seems like he could be ready to be what the Braves thought he could be.

  181. I think Wright absolutely earned himself a shot. But if he doesn’t grab the brass ring this time, I will be ready to throw him to the wolves.

    My thoughts on Soler are all here, but I think the only way to go after him is to give him a relatively modest guaranteed base with absolutely massive incentives based on the number of PA he’s able to amass. A purely guaranteed contract, like the deal Schwarber just got, seems almost certain to end in tragedy.

  182. Regardless of what happens, Soler will forever live in the hearts of Braves fans with that 3-run supersonic missile in Game 6.

  183. Apparently the Phillies are after Castellanos.

    They… They are aware that “universal DH” means every team uses the DH, right? Not every position? With Castellanos, they’d have no fewer than four players (Castellanos, Schwarber, Hoskins, and Bohm) who are best deployed at DH, plus two more (Harper and Realmuto) who want some time there every once in a while to save some mileage.

    That’s a dinger parade, to be sure. But their defensive innings might never end until the pitching staff gets three strikeouts.

  184. @235
    AA doesn’t really do performance-based incentives as he likes guaranteed dollars better than surprise dollars. Also, I can’t imagine that the Braves can carry both Soler and Ozuna, especially after re-upping Rosario. As of now, there are 5 OFers that would be on the OD roster: Duvall, Dickerson, Heredia, Ozuna, Rosario. When Acuña gets activated in 2nd weak of season (that’s the plan right now), he’ll be the DH, and it leaves a very shaky defensive OF. Adding Soler only complicates that issue.

    Do the Braves want to rid themselves of Ozuna? My guess is yes. Will they? My guess is no. Therefore, Soler seems a pipedream.

  185. I just heard Heyman on the radio. He said the Braves final offer for Freddie was 5/140. Freddie’s agent countered with 5/165 or 6/175. AA moved on after that. The Rays offered the most money in the end….by a good bit. Freddie wanted quite a bit more from the Braves than he got from the Dodgers (especially figuring in taxes).

    I’m happy with Matt Olson even though I hate losing Langeliers.

  186. @237 Why do the Phillies hate defense so much? They did this a few years ago where they moved Hoskins to left because they wanted someone who could only play first. They’ve had Harper in CF. Man, they’re idiots.

  187. When something is really important to you, you don’t leave it in someone else’s hands.

  188. @243: Real deadlines foster compromise. Fake deadlines foster (a) annoyance; (b) brinksmanship; (c) mistakes.

  189. @243 That is pretty much what Heyman said too. I don’t blame AA for moving on after getting a 1 hour deadline on that ridiculous offer.

    Chipper is right. IF he wanted to stay they handled it terribly.

  190. P.S. These details are coming from a Buster Olney article ($). Snippets and passages are being shared around.

    Last August, as Freeman was closing in on free agency for the first time in his career, Jones recalled pulling him aside. “I told him, ‘If you go to free agency, and you get courted by all … the big market teams — you’re not coming back,'” Jones said.

    But more than that, Jones said, he implored Freeman not to try to play the Braves — from his experience working with the front office, he warned Freeman that they would call his bluff.

    “I told Freddie, ‘You’re playing a dangerous, dangerous game … They will move on without you, because Alex has a job to do. If he doesn’t do that job, he puts his job in jeopardy.'”

    Sounds like 5/$135 was the opening offer last spring and it went to 5/$140 after the lockout. Chipper said he thinks AA would have went to $150. Then came the ultimatum…

    The ultimatum came after Morosi’s reporting that the Dodgers were heating things up. AA rejected the ultimatum and pulled their offer. AA called Billy Beane on Sunday night and completed the trade around 1pm on Monday.

  191. @243 Fascinating! We’ll never know if the Braves would have said yes to 6/$162M (what Freddie got from the Dodgers), but it sounds likely that (a) the Braves never offered Freeman a six-year contract and (b) Freddie never went below $175M for a six year deal.

    AA offered 5/$140M so on a pure dollars basis, meaning the two sides were $25M apart over five years ($5M a year) which is… a considerable figure, but seemingly something that could be bridged assuming both parties were committed to coming to a deal eventually. This whole thing really just reads as poor negotiation, mostly on the part of Freddie’s agent (assuming Freddie did want to return to Atlanta).

  192. I just have an incredibly hard time with Freddie letting his agent handle the negotiations in this manner. They basically gave our Braves a 1-hour ultimatum to accept an outrageous set of contract demands.

    I don’t think I will be cheering Freddie for even one game in LA.

  193. Contrast with Olson’s representation:

    Atlanta’s first proposal was $140 million over seven years, and when Abbott countered, it kicked off rapid-fire haggling. Olson boarded a plane in Arizona at 11:50 p.m., and Abbott told his client to get on Wifi because he’d need to get in touch with him during the flight. After some back and forth, Abbott proposed $168 million over eight years, with a club option for a ninth year. When Anthopoulos agreed, Abbott texted the numbers to Olson, who has made about $6.1 million in his career to date.

    Olson responded: Are you serious?

    When Abbott confirmed the numbers, Olson replied: Holy s—.

    He still could barely believe it — he asked Abbott if the money was all guaranteed.

    Yes. All of it.

  194. It sounds like a Greek tragedy. I’m sure Freddie wanted to stay, but I’m also sure that he was hurt by the fact that the team didn’t extend him before his contract was up, or before the lockout. After the lockout, he may have been licking his wounds and may have just told his agent to deal with it.

    I’m sure Alex also wanted to bring Freddie back, but just like with Donaldson, it’s very clear that he was simply not willing to move far off his number. It’s agonizing because it doesn’t feel like the two sides were that far apart in terms of money. But the distance between them clearly wasn’t just about money. I’m guessing that it may also have had to do with hurt pride, and what Freddie completely justifiably may have believed was his due, considering all the years that he’d given to the team in its darkest years.

    It’s one thing to say it’s nothing personal, just business. It’s another thing to say that to someone who you’ve also said you love.

    The Braves probably screwed up by not extending Freddie in 2020, and they very clearly screwed up by not making Freddie feel more highly valued — based on the Olney blow by blow, it sounds like the Braves should have increased their baseline offer much earlier than they ultimately did. Freddie probably screwed up by not staying on top of the salary negotiations. It sure seems like Freddie’s agents overplayed their hand.

    In the end, the Braves got Olson, who’s a good player, and the amount of money they’ll be paying him is high but reasonable. Freddie went home and took a good amount of money to go to a clear World Series contender with a boatload of stars.

    Things worked out for both, so that both team and player wound up with their best possible alternative. But it’s insane that they couldn’t come to terms.

  195. I’ll just go ahead and say what some of us have thought for a little while. There’s bad blood between Freddie Freeman and Alex Anthopolous. Who knows when it started or what the start of it was. Maybe it was the lack of an extension prior to Freddie going to free agency. This simply doesn’t read like two sides who wanted an agreement, and I mean that moreso from the side of Freddie’s agent who just didn’t seem very engaged in working out a solution.

    To Anthoplous’s credit, that’s one less Freddie Freeman who will be dogging your starters to play every game to the point of wear down and fatigue.

  196. What does that even mean?

    Freddie Freeman was the best Braves first baseman of my lifetime. I’ll always hold his time here in high regard. I doubt I’ll cheer for him, but I wish him the best, and the Dodgers the worst.

  197. @sdp You beat me to sharing that. That’s one of the things that is leading me to believe the bad blood angle.

  198. @254 Looks like Freddie also thinks those were alligator tears.

    Freddie, you got max value. That’s what you wanted. We’ve all been offered a job we want for more money that we know we’d hate. Freddie took max value from the team willing to pay the most and didn’t want less money from the team he supposedly wanted to play for. There were so many non-monetary benefits to staying in Atlanta, and I don’t begrudge Atlanta for trying to take advantage of that. You got your money, Freddie. Move on.

  199. FF offered $28 million/yr for 5 and agent gives an hour to accept 5/33 or 6/29. FF ends up getting 6/27. Hmmm. Like I’ve thought for the past week – FF and/or agent shot too high and their bluff got called so they accepted what they could get after that which was lower than all of the rest. At least he got his 6th year.

  200. I don’t know about Freddie, but I know I’ve moved on. I’m just thrilled they are actually playing baseball. I enjoy that a lot more than contract negotiations, either individual or collective.

  201. Thanks Rob—that’s what I’ve been needing since November. And an almost no-no by the Braves’ young hurlers. Based on today’s performance, I’m ready to predict a repeat.

  202. Based on today’s performance, I think Elder and Vines are legitimate Cy Young candidates.

  203. Hearing Chipper be interviewed by local radio right now. He basically thinks Freddie let his agent run away with the situation.

  204. The classic case of cake and eating it too, right? Freeman wanted a 6 year deal or 30+ million AAV AND stay in ATL. One of those 2 things was obviously of greater value than the other.

    Alex did the right thing by pulling the offer and moving on.

    Is the team better with Freeman + prospects?

    Shoot I don’t know. but i sure am looking forward to watching this team play.

  205. I agree with Stu. I think the Braves should give Kyle Wright a rotation spot and stop yanking him around. He’s out of options anyway.

  206. Factoring in taxes and cost of living, Freddie’s getting $8 million or less for that extra year. That’s not nothing, but if his stated desire to remain in Atlanta was true and the details of the negotiations are true, his agent did him an incredible disservice. My goodness.

    I’ve moved on and, for the record, will not be rooting for Freddie. Had he landed in Toronto, Tampa, even The Bronx, I probably could — but I just can’t with an NL rival.

  207. BTW between all this and the NCAA Tournament, at least I can basically ignore the goings-on with the Falcons right now. Because woof…

  208. This just up from MLBTR. Freddie’s deal is not even as good as it sounds. He definitely got the short end of all the negotiations. And I don’t think it even takes taxes into account.

    “Mark Feinsand of reports (on Twitter) that $57MM of the $162MM guarantee is being deferred, to be paid between 2028-40. Feinsand suggests that brings the real present value of the contract closer to $140MM.”

    He could have had $140 for 5 years with no deferral. Isn’t $105 over 6 years less than what Freddie was making before?

    @262 How about Vodnik’s 5Ks in 6 batters?

  209. Freddie should fire his agent and anybody who employs Freddie’s agent should seriously consider it as well. What a mess!

  210. Dansby is an Excel client, so I guess the Baez contract will be the starting point, and AA will be given 15 minutes to say yes.

  211. @269 To be fair, it sounded much better in context, but I can’t find the video. I think Freddie was just uncomfortable and didn’t know what to say, so he just said that. I don’t hold that against him as much as others will.

    But I agree with Stu; I’m just not going to be rooting for LA. It would be like Chipper leaving after the 1999 season to go play for the Yanks or something. Not following him. I’m happy for Freddie because he’s happy, but I’m not rooting for him.

  212. 270 — If that’s true, I don’t see how Freddie hasn’t fired his agent yet. That would be a disasterously-bad outcome for someone who essentially had a straight $140MM over 5 years in hand.

  213. The Dodgers seem to have gotten a hometown discount or at least a bargain. They get Freddie with only a $18M hit to their roster cost. And the longer inflation stays high, the worse the deal gets. And CA taxes are not exactly about to go down.

  214. I’ll always root for FF5. No matter all the stuff around him leaving Atlanta. He’s been the face of the team for a long time. Wishing him all the best. And I will give him a standing ovation if I’m around when he returns to Truist. But I have moved on as well. Go Olson, you beauty!

  215. If FF never hits another baseball I would be quite happy, once you are not wearing the laundry I root for I really don’t care about them, especially if you are in the same Division/league.

  216. Jansen to Braves a 1 year/$16 deal. Wow. This Braves-Dodgers arms race / rivalry is getting quite compelling.

  217. So much for that $15M figure DOB floated. They’ve put $21M into the bullpen with McHugh and Jansen. So much for that lack of RH depth in the pen.

  218. What the heck is going on guys?
    I mean, I don’t mind it, but at that price maybe verlander or soler would’ve added more value?

  219. Ryan, whatever prompted you to name this thread “So…What next?” makes you look pretty prescient.

  220. @295 Not quite. Still room in the budget from what I’ve heard. Obviously there is a limit though. Jansen signing a total surprise.

  221. Agreed with the WOW. I stand corrected from my above posts. What a great bullpen. MLBTR says the Braves are at $208M for luxury tax purposes about $22M short of the low threshold. I gotta think that $12M AAV to sign Soler would have to be the max to be able to leave space for deadline deals. But, heck, I’ve been wrong all along so…….

    I still think this means the Braves are going to roll with the SPs we already have on the 40-man roster. If the SPs give us 5 decent innings, we’re gonna win a lot of games.

    I love the implied competition with the Dodgers. I always thought signing Will Smith was partially a direct attempt to plan for the Dodgers as he was in the West when he was signed. Yates may have been signed with that in mind too.

    Maybe there’s an Ozuna deal on the horizon.

  222. I hope this year’s NLCS ends with Kenley Jansen striking out Freddie Freeman.

    Writing this a week ago would have gotten you banned from this site. What a great comment, and what a crazy world.

  223. Freddie did well by us. I wish him well, but I’d rather have AA.

    The game’s still played on the field though.

  224. The Jansen signing rules.

    The Castellanos signing… Phillies, lol.

  225. I also had the impression that Jansen was fading. But the signing caused me to look more closely at his career. I knew he was a great reliever, but he is better than I thought he was, both for his career and recently. He has been the most consistent, and probably the best, reliever in the game for most of the past decade. And he is still dominant. His 2019 was a bit off, but his 2021 season was excellent. He’s lost a few ticks on his fastball, but he’s improved his breaking ball.

    I love this signing. As several have said, this phenomenal bullpen allows the Braves to give more opportunity to Wright, Ynoa, et al, to complete the rotation. You’d like them to figure out how to give more than five innings, but with this pen a decent five innings will give you a chance to win every night–and without wearing the individual relievers out..

  226. My guess is that AA looked around the league and couldn’t find a starting pitcher that he thought would be a substantial upgrade over Wright/Ynoa at a decent price (in dollars and/or prospects) and decided that if he’s got money to spend he’ll just buy up another nice bullpen piece (and deprive the Dodgers at the same time) instead.

    Frankly, the composition of the current pitching staff (good front 3 starters and thin behind that, stacked bullpen) looks like a playoff roster. Unfortunately, there’s a lot of baseball to be played between now and then. :-)

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