What Braves’ next contract offer for Freddie Freeman should look like

The Atlanta Braves’ next contract offer to Freddie Freeman does not have to be complicated.

With the absolutely agonizing MLB lockout ending hopefully sooner rather than later, the Atlanta Braves need to get back to work to figure out how to re-sign All-Star first baseman Freddie Freeman.

Atlanta is coming off its first World Series championship in 26 years. Freeman has been the franchise cornerstone since his mentor Chipper Jones retired. Though he is on the wrong side of 30, Freeman has earned the right to be paid handsomely and spend his entire career in a Braves uniform. Hopefully, Liberty Media gets over being cheap and pays the man his money very soon.

With baseball getting here in short order, here is what the Braves need to offer Freeman in their next round of contract negotiations with the 2020 NL MVP.

Atlanta Braves: What next Freddie Freeman contract offer should look like

All things equal, Freeman’s camp seems to prioritize contract length rather than financial compensation. He wants six years and Atlanta has no choice but to give him that. Freeman may fall off a cliff physically in the second half or third of this contract, but who cares? He helped Atlanta win a World Series championship and will be a goodwill ambassador for the franchise.

So if it is six years or bust, what should the numbers be? Freeman wants $180 million, which equates to $30 million annually. The Braves can theoretically go slightly under that amount, but they are playing with fire in doing so. Again, Liberty Media’s leaked finances show they have no excuse to go cheap this offseason. This is the defending league champion and still in contention.

What would serve Atlanta is to front-load this supposed six-year, $180 million contract so Freeman will make more money while he is still very much in his athletic prime. If both parties want to do a restructure in the second half or latter third of the deal, they will cross that bridge when they get there. For now, the Braves have to pony up and pay their best player his money.

This does not have to be that hard, but as we have seen this offseason, baseball is gonna baseball.

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