With Freddie Freeman set to be introduced by the Los Angeles Dodgers today, there has been a persistent question for a number of fans of the Atlanta Braves. How did things get to the point where the Braves pivoted to acquiring Matt Olson and moving on from Freeman. A report by ESPN’s Buster Olney sheds some light on the situation.
Per the report, the Braves first made an offer to Freeman during Spring Training of 2021 but it was an under-value deal. That runs against what Freeman told reporters during the spring that the team had not approached him about an extension. Atlanta increased its offer to five-years and $125 million at the trade deadline last season. The offer eventually went to $135 million and later topped out at $140 million.
Here is where it gets interesting, per Olney, Freeman’s representation spoke with Alex Anthopoulos on Saturday, March 12 and told him that he had an hour to accept one of two proposals.
The next day, Close and Anthopoulos spoke, and, according to four sources, Close told Anthopoulous that the Braves had an hour to accept one of two proposals — a six-year, $175 million deal, an average of a little more than $29 million a year, or a five-year, $165 million deal, an average of $33 million per season.
The Braves pulled their offer soon after and pivoted to preparing for life without Freeman. The whole article is worth a read and includes quotes from Chipper Jones cautioning Freeman to not try and play the Braves.
The sixth year was apparently the sticking point for Freeman and his representatives in their negotiations with the Braves. The six-year, $162 million deal that he agreed to isn’t that much different than the five-year, $140 million offer the Braves had. Who knows if Atlanta had any more wiggle room? It appears that Freeman’s representatives handed out an ultimatum thinking that the Braves would cave and when that didn’t happen, didn’t appear to be fully prepared for anything else.