MLB rumors: Surprise team enters Freddie Freeman fray

A surprise team has entered the Freddie Freeman chase — or at least been named as a potential suitor: The Detroit Tigers. Does the fit make sense?

The Tigers already made one free agent splash this offseason by signing Javier Baez before the lockout. They also added a shutdown pitcher in former Red Sox hurler Eduardo Rodriguez and traded for catcher Tucker Barnhart.

But could Detroit and general manager Al Avila take matters a step further?

Per ESPN insider Alden Gonzalez, the Tigers could be in on Freddie Freeman. As Freeman waits for the Atlanta Braves to bite at his six-year, $180 million contract expectations, MoTown could make a move.

Freddie Freeman contract expectations

Freeman wants a contract worth six years at around $30 million per season. The average AAV isn’t an issue for the Braves, but they’re reportedly unwilling to go to a six-year deal, preferring instead to sign Freeman to a five-year contract.

A matter that seems relatively small has only grown with the lockout, since the two sides are unable to talk.

Detroit Tigers: Does Freddie Freeman make sense?

Freeman doesn’t make a ton of sense for the Tigers, although the depth chart as currently constructed has a pretty major hole at first base.

Miguel Cabrera is no longer an everyday first baseman. Jonathan Schoop is solid, but he can play several positions and may not be best suited for first base. Freeman undeniably is, and bringing him in to pair with Baez would make the Tigers a clear favorite to make the postseason.

But Detroit was unwilling to give Carlos Correa the money he wanted — reportedly over $330 million — and signing Baez plus Freeman this offseason would put them awfully close to that mark.

Add in the Tigers’ rising prospect pool, which includes former No. 1 pick Spencer Torkelson ready to play first base, and Detroit could be better suited to wait rather than spend all their available money in one offseason.

Still, the fact the Tigers are even mentioned should excite fans in MoTown. Their time is nearing.