Last month, a bit of a concerning report came out when Freddie Freeman admitted to David O’Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution that his wrist was only at “80-85 percent.” The concerns were further compounded when Freeman also admitted that his doctor told him that he’d probably need a full offseason to recover from the wrist fracture he suffered earlier this season. Here’s the money quote from the AJC:
And it almost certainly won’t until he has time to rest it for an extended period this winter, much like the right-wrist injury that caused him to miss 44 games in 2015 and wasn’t right again until after an extended rest period after that season.
“I talked to Dr. (Gary) Lourie the other day, and he says it’s going to be a whole offseason (before it’s back to normal),” Freeman said. “I have lost a lot of strength. I’ve hit some balls that I thought were home runs, and they’re not going.”
Well, fast forward to postgame comments following yet another loss to the Cubs and it appears that things are getting worse for Freeman and his wrist. Freddie Freeman talked to reporters after the game, and what he had to say isn’t exactly encouraging.
#Braves' Freeman: “The wet newspaper I’ve been swinging, got it through a couple of times today and made contact.... (1/2)— David O'Brien (@DOBrienAJC) September 2, 2017
more #Braves Freeman (2/2) ".... I needed to do it again in the last one and didn’t do it.... I’ve got nothing left, really."— David O'Brien (@DOBrienAJC) September 2, 2017
When the news initially came out that Freeman wasn’t 100 percent recovered from his injury, there were rumblings that the Braves needed to just go ahead and shut Freddie down for the rest of the season. Now, there’s no doubt about it — they need to shut him down. It’s September and the Braves have no chance of making the playoffs. Judging by the call-ups they made, it seems to indicate that they’re treating the final month of this season more like a talent evaluation process than a legit push to win games.
So, if the cornerstone of your franchise is saying that swinging a bat feels like swinging a “wet newspaper” in the tail end of what is essentially a lost season, then it’s time to sit him down for the rest of the campaign and get a head start on the healing process. Keeping him on the field in this scenario while he’s clearly playing through pain is irresponsible.
I’d imagine that Freddie himself is the one who’s imploring to keep on playing, but at this point someone in the organization has to put it on the table and make the responsible decision. Yeah, it would make the team weaker for the final month of the season, but at this point you can honestly throw results out of the window. Making sure that your franchise player is healthy and ready to go for 2018 should be the priority and if that means putting him on the shelf, then so be it.
It’s laudable that Freeman wants to keep on playing through this and I’m sure that everybody in the clubhouse and fanbase appreciates the fact that he’s willing to sacrifice for the good of the team. However, sometimes you just have to live to fight another day, and that’s what the Braves should do here when it comes to Freddie Freeman.
We do not need him swinging a “wet newspaper” around in 2017 if it means that it will affect him in 2018. Let’s be realistic about the situation at hand, y’all.