Does Freddie Freeman Deal Concern You?

Freeman has emerged as a clutch hitter.

Freeman has emerged as a clutch hitter.

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?

Get your Braves tickets at Front Row Seats! No Fees and Free Shipping – use our exclusive code ATL. The best seats at the best prices with great customer service. Compare to others and Pay Less. Atlanta’s trusted source for over 20 years. Call 888.537.6687 or download the Mobile App.

About Jim Hart

Jim has covered the Atlanta Braves since 2008 for local and national broadcast news organizations. He also appears regularly talking Braves baseball on WCCP-FM in Clemson, South Carolina, and the ESPN Radio affiliate, 1420 Sports in St. Augustine, Florida.

  • dan harvey

    Jim, hi. Baseball talk. Ain’t it great! Contrary to what you stated, I think 1B is the most important and I offer FF as proof. I remember watching the Braves just a few short years ago and their team defense was really pretty awful. Then FF came to town and the team defense became a strength with him turning in all of those throwing errors into outs. FF has as good a swing as I have ever seen. I do not think he has even peaked, yet, and he was fifth in mvp voting last year. He may never win one of those. He may win a handful of them. I agree with you that eight years is a long term deal and it could come undone for a lot of different reasons but unless and until that happens I am really glad to have the chance to watch this man ply his trade. RF, 1B, SS, 3B, and closer are all really great players. This could be a really good year for the Bravos.

    • http://atlantabullpen.com/ Jim Hart

      Hey Dan! Yes, it is great to be back blogging on the Braves again! Freddie is a very good player and I like the way he comes through in the clutch. My main point though, is the length of the deal and that first base is the easiest position on the field to fill. Freeman’s glove work does make him valuable, but what it all comes down to is how much value are you getting for your dollar? What is the breaking point? I think this deal is too long and too big for what they Braves are getting…

  • rick staley

    Not concerned when the big contract is going to a class act like Freeman. Very humble and is a natural born leader who can not only rake, but his defensive prowess is very underrated.

    Moreover, the new stadium is coming soon, and the organization definitely needed time to get the face-of-the-franchise marketing plan going sooner rather than later. Still expect to see either Justin Up10 or J-Hey to be extended by beginning of 2015 season. If I was a betting man, Up10 will be the logical choice due to the albatross of a contract his big brother Bossman Up10 signed last off season.

    Also, He is cheaper than the big Tex that crumpled our farm system a few years back, and much younger too boot. Very important to erase that particular deal from the Tomahawk Nations memory as soon as possible.

    • http://atlantabullpen.com/ Jim Hart

      Was talking with a couple media folks today about Freeman and they both commented how Freeman hasn’t been a leader. Is rarely available for the media like Chipper always was. Whether you like the media or not, talking to the media is a big part of a leader’s responsibility in today’s professional sports. He’s being put forth now as the face of the franchise so we will see if he steps up and assumes the mantle.

  • russ

    Not everyone can play first base. Remember when the Mets tried Mike Pizza at first

    • http://atlantabullpen.com/ Jim Hart

      Yeah, but a lot of people can.