Having become more fiscally conservative as I’ve gotten older, the Freddie Freeman long-term deal concerns me. That isn’t a knock on Freeman, any big money contract over three years makes my toes curl.
Freeman is an outstanding hitter, has power to all fields, and comes through in the clutch. He also makes the other infielders look good with his quick glove and ability to snatch throws in the dirt. The fact that he has played at such a high level, and is still only 24 years old, should mean a long-term, big money deal is a no-brainer, right?
I like the Braves rewarding a player who they drafted and came up through the Braves minor league system. It is nice to see “one of our own” get the big money, and not a guy who built his reputation elsewhere and hasn’t done anything for us lately, not to mention ever.
A concern with the Freeman deal is that he plays the easiest every day position on the field to replace. When you look around the league, there is always a lot of pretty decent first baseman that you can acquire via trade or free agency at a reasonable price. There always seems to be an Adam Laroche type player out there that you can plug in for a year or two that can be productive.
In addition, first base is close to the bottom of baseball’s pecking order, just ahead of left field and middle reliever. An analogy for you football fans, it is the baseball equivalent to signing your center or right guard to a big money deal.
First base is also a position that you can switch a player to that has been hurt. Lets say one of your outfielders or third basemen get hurt and can’t play their natural position, and they have a few years left on their contract. They can still hit, so what do you do with them? You move them to first base, right? Particularly in the National League where there is no DH. First base is the retirement home for bad knees and sore backs.
I’m happy the Braves are willing to invest big money in keeping a very productive home-grown player. But I’m not doing back-flips over this deal. In addition to becoming more fiscally conservative with advancing age, could I also be suffering from Upton/Uggla contract shock syndrome? The Braves haven’t exactly had good luck lately with big money deals.
What do you think about Freeman’s deal?
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