The Atlanta Braves may have had interest in Houston Astros shortstop Carlos Correa back in December, but that interest should only reinforce the notion that Freddie Freeman is coming back.
Atlanta reportedly showed interest in signing Correa back in December. The Braves did see first-hand what he was all about in the 2021 World Series. While there is no doubt about how great of a player Correa is, just thinking about him in a Braves uniform is way too complicated for this cash-strapped franchise to pull off. It is all the more reason why Freeman is extremely likely to return.
Here is why any notion of Correa playing for the Braves should be put to rest, as well as Freeman playing for any other franchise next season.
What will the Braves do if they miss out on Freddie Freeman? Sign Carlos Correa?
While Correa is a good bit younger than Freeman, he does not play first base. Though they will both net about the same amount of money per year on a new contract, Atlanta would have to completely reshuffle its infield to make this thing work. It would require trading shortstop Dansby Swanson away and dealing for Lilburn native Matt Olson with the rebuilding Oakland Athletics.
In short, the Braves would have Austin Riley at third base, Correa at short, Ozzie Albies at second and presumably Olson at first. For a franchise that is incredibly methodical with every contract it has doled out since the Melvin Upton Jr. and Dan Uggla fiascos, it is not in the Braves’ nature to do this. Correa has about as much of a chance of playing for the Braves this next year as yours truly.
In all likelihood, Correa will either re-up with the Astros or sign with teams like the Chicago Cubs or the Los Angeles Dodgers in his free agency. Freeman could end up with the Dodgers, the New York Yankees or whatever big-market team you can think of. Trading for Olson is a possibility to replace him, but we need to apply Occam’s razor here: “The simplest explanation is usually the best one”.
The longer MLB has its lockout, the more and more likely Freeman will just re-up with the Braves.