Freeman: 'I don't want to put on another uniform'

Braves first baseman watches the market, remains content in Atlanta

March 22nd, 2019

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- As has watched Mike Trout, Nolan Arenado and others receive lengthy contract extensions over the past few weeks, he has gained more reason to hope that, like Chipper Jones, he may have a chance to spend his entire career with the Braves.

“This is my 13th year in the organization, and I love it here,” Freeman said. “I’m comfortable here. I’ve made the money. I now just want to end my career here. If you play well, the years are going to be there, plus the money is going to be there. We, as baseball players, know that. I don’t want to go anywhere else. I don’t. If [the extension is] four or five more years following [my current deal] and I’m declining, I’ll be out. I really will. I don’t want to put on another uniform for another year.

“I love it here, and I see myself ending my career as an Atlanta Brave. So, hopefully, I can keep playing well for the next couple years and they’ll want me to stay here.”

Given that Freeman has three years and $65 million remaining on his current deal, he is likely a year or two away from being offered an extension. Arenado, who received an eight-year, $260 million extension from the Rockies, and Paul Goldschmidt, who is nearing the completion of a five-year extension reportedly worth $130 million, could have become free agents following this year.

“I know how many years I have left, and I know what is going on,” Freeman said. “I’m not going to engage [talks]. If they want to engage in that, I’m obviously here to engage because I want to be here for the rest of my career.”

Goldschmidt is a good comp, as he stands two years older and has a resume that resembles the one produced by the Braves’ 29-year-old first baseman.

Dating to 2013, Goldschmidt leads all Major League first basemen with 32.8 fWAR (Fangraphs’ WAR Model) and Freeman ranks third with 28.4. Dating to 2016, Freeman leads all first baseman with 15.7 fWAR and Goldschmidt ranks second with 15.3.

Though Freeman’s power has declined since he fractured his wrist in 2017, he still earned a fourth-place MVP finish last year. Still, the possibility of an extension and the value of that extension will rest on how he performs over the next couple seasons.

“Obviously, I still have to play well for them to want me here,” Freeman said. “I do see all the deals happening within the last few days, and I think it’s great for baseball and great for those fan bases that have already seen those players.

“No one wants to hit free agency anymore after the last couple years. When you get comfortable with a club, why not just stay with that club? I think a lot of guys are starting to realize free agency isn’t all that. Most guys love where they are to begin with. So, why not just stay with that club? When you play well, that club is going to want to keep you, too.”