Atlanta Braves can only blame themselves if Freddie Freeman leaves

Nov 5, 2021; Atlanta, GA, USA; Atlanta Braves first baseman Freddie Freeman holds the Commissioner's Trophy during the World Series championship rally at Truist Park. Mandatory Credit: Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports
Nov 5, 2021; Atlanta, GA, USA; Atlanta Braves first baseman Freddie Freeman holds the Commissioner's Trophy during the World Series championship rally at Truist Park. Mandatory Credit: Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports /
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Remember just a few short months ago when things were so good for the Atlanta Braves? That World Series trophy? That parade? All of the good vibes? Well, all good things must come to an end, and it looks like that just might be what’s happening with Freddie Freeman and his time in an Atlanta uniform.

For those of us baseball fans outside of Atlanta, one of the greatest things about the Atlanta Braves winning the World Series was that Freddie Freeman was at last a World Champion. There are certain players who have to wait so long in their careers to finally be called a champion in every sport (Alex Ovechkin finally raising the Stanley Cup, Charles Woodson at last grasping the Lombardi Trophy, and so many other examples). Freeman, who finally was part of a World Series winner in his 12th season, was part of a group who waited to win it all, and was finally rewarded for the effort.

But that was way back in November. As the seasons got colder, so seemingly did the relationship between the Atlanta Braves and Freddie Freeman.

Sure, nothing is certain, but Buster Olney’s bombshell on Tuesday that there is a “growing belief” that Freeman will be in another uniform in 2022 shows that Atlanta not signing Freeman with the good vibes of the World Series still swirling was a big mistake.

Would Freeman have been expensive to keep? Sure, his expected ask of a six-year, $180 million deal would need to work into Atlanta’s tricky payroll situation somehow. And, yes, Freeman will turn 33 in September, so this is a pricey contract that will cover the back end of his career. However, for the face of the Atlanta franchise to leave and, potentially as a member of the Los Angeles Dodgers, in a harrowing what-if scenario, keep the Braves from returning to the World Series, it would be the pinnacle of head-shaking moments.

Just think about that, Braves fans. It could happen.

All of us, including Freeman and the Braves, knew that a lockout was coming. We knew the date. We knew it would mean everything would grind to a halt in terms of MLB transactions. However, Atlanta chose to not be aggressive to close a deal with the best offer the franchise could make. Hometown discounts and franchise loyalty simply didn’t fly as the gates slammed shut in the faces of MLB players around North America.

As my grandpa used to say, “With choices come consequences,” and Atlanta will now deal with the consequences of choosing to wait until after the lockout to try to complete a contract with Freeman.

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Could Freddie Freeman still return to Atlanta? Of course, anything is possible. However, there seems to be more and more chatter about Freeman moving on to Los Angeles or perhaps the New York Yankees. If that happens, Freeman could well enjoy another world title. It just won’t be in Atlanta.