The history of the Atlanta Braves should tell them what most fans have been asking for already: Give Freddie Freeman every dollar he deserves.
Eight years can go by fast. That’s how long Freddie Freeman signed an extension for back in early 2014 to remain a member of the Atlanta Braves for nearly the next full decade.
The deal was worth $135 million. It bought out his early arbitration seasons and prevented him from reaching free agency. Freeman would not be a free man anytime soon.
A lot has happened since the deal was signed. Four straight losing seasons followed by four straight division titles with three Fast & Furious movies released between the start and conclusion of the deal, it all culminated with a brilliant finale in 2021. Freeman was the man who caught the ball at first base for the final out of the World Series. While many similar deals signed between 2014 and 2021 turned out to be mistakes, history proves Freeman deserved every penny.
Braves: The Freddie Freeman extension in 2014 was the catalyst for the franchise’s success
Imagine if Freeman didn’t sign the extension! He would have reached free agency before the Braves even began to finish above .500. It was in those later years when he would become more than a guy with potential and actually establish himself as one of the best first basemen in the league.
Since 2016, Freeman has been a more powerful hitter and a guy with a few other attributes you can only dream of getting from your first baseman. He has topped 30 home runs three times since and the only season where he didn’t bat above .300 was in 2019 when he clobbered a career-best 38 home runs while driving in another personal-high 121 runs. He did this with a still productive .295 batting average.
The following year, Freeman won the 2020 MVP while leading the league in runs (51) and doubles (23) and boasting a .341/.462/.640 slash line in the shortened season.
Freeman was essential for the Braves yet again in 2021. At the core of their lineup, he had a somewhat underrated playoff performance. He hit well in all three playoff series on the club’s way to winning their first World Series since 1995.
It makes all of the sense in the world for the Braves to maintain their relationship with Freeman. He did nothing but produce for them. However, recent rumors have suggested he could end up with the New York Yankees. The Braves may also choose to move on from him with one possibility being a trade with the Oakland Athletics for Matt Olson.
Regardless of where Freeman goes, he deserved the contract he signed with the Braves back in February 2014. And if history rhymes, as it often does, he’ll deserve the next one just as much.