Atlanta Braves executive Alex Anthopoulos still looks smart for letting Freddie Freeman walk in free agency even after the brief revenge.
It didn’t take long for Freddie Freeman to reunite with his Atlanta Braves teammates this season. A mid-April matchup between the Braves and Los Angeles Dodgers in Southern California pitted the two against each other. In Freeman’s first at-bat versus his former club, he sent a pitch from Huascar Ynoa over the fence for a home run.
The decision by the Braves to allow Freeman to leave was a tough one for Alex Anthopoulos. Coming off of a World Series victory with Freeman helping to lead the charge, whether or not a reunion would take place was a major storyline for the offseason.
Eventually, the Braves blinked first and pulled off a blockbuster deal for Matt Olson. This left Freeman with only a handful of choices. The never-shy-to-spend Dodgers were willing to pay the price. And while the decision to let Freeman leave Atlanta will be analyzed for years to come, right now it remains to be a smart one by Anthopoulos even after the brief revenge.
Braves first baseman Matt Olson is helping the Braves forget about Freddie Freeman
Like it or not, Olson and Freeman are forever linked. How each performs this year will catch our immediate attention. However, it’s the long term results that will have Braves fans feeling satisfied.
Freeman is locked up with the Dodgers through 2027 at an AAV of $27 million. Olson’s contract is only guaranteed through 2029 with a team option in 2030 when he’d play his age 36 campaign. It no single season will it exceed $22 million either. More important than money is age. Freeman’s age 36 season comes much sooner in 2026. These numbers alone likely factored into the Braves’ purview on which first baseman to continue on with.
Early results from the two are proving the Braves have a star at first base with Olson. Through his first 62 plate appearances, he has slashed .400/.516/.640 and entered Thursday with a league-leading 20 hits. Freeman has been successful as well, batting .333/.400/.521 in his first 55 trips to the plate. We can call this small sample size a draw for now.
Freeman could very well outperform Olson this year and the next two years. However, by 2025, Anthopolous is going to look much wiser. Olson is there to stay in Atlanta. At only a freshly-turned 28, the best may still be in his future.