ATLANTA -- When Freddie Freeman fractured his left wrist on May 17, he had numbers that validated the claim that he had been one of the Majors' elite offensive performers for nearly a full calendar year. Thus, there was reason to assume the Braves wouldn't find a capable replacement to
ATLANTA -- When Freddie Freeman fractured his left wrist on May 17, he had numbers that validated the claim that he had been one of the Majors' elite offensive performers for nearly a full calendar year. Thus, there was reason to assume the Braves wouldn't find a capable replacement to play first base over the 10 weeks or so Freeman is expected to miss.
Backed into a corner, the Braves showed commitment to both their players and fan base when they doggedly searched for options and ultimately traded a Minor League infielder to the Cardinals for Matt Adams -- who has spent the past month producing much like Freeman had.
The strong left-handed slugger further enhanced his stock Monday night, drilling a solo homer that backed R.A. Dickey in a 9-0 win over the Giants at SunTrust Park.
"We all miss Freddie, but this guy has just been more than anything we could have hoped for in the moment," Dickey said. "He's just a consummate professional as well. Everything about him and his game has been an incredibly pleasant surprise. I'm hoping we can find a spot for him when Freddie comes back."
Through his first 28 games with the Braves, Adams has hit .306, drilled 10 home runs and produced a 1.018 OPS. Freeman, meanwhile, batted .347 with 10 homers and a 1.196 OPS through his first 28 games of the season.
"He's sure taking a lot of pressure off the other guys," Braves manager Brian Snitker said. "That's all about coming in and being yourself, just do what Matt Adams is capable of."
After spending the past couple seasons as a backup in St. Louis and coming to the realization this year that he likely would have to leave the Cardinals to gain an opportunity for an everyday role, Adams has made the most of his opportunity, prompting questions as to what the Braves will do with him when Freeman returns.
Given that Freeman is likely still at least a month away from returning, the Braves have time to evaluate their options. They could try to give Adams some playing time in the outfield, though they don't currently have a vacancy there and the 28-year-old slugger has logged just 34 1/3 innings (all this season) as an outfielder. Or the club could opt to gain something in return for this powerful left-handed threat, who could be in demand as the Trade Deadline approaches.
Adams has hit at least 15 homers in each of the three big league seasons he has played at least 100 games, so he has proven power potential.
But while producing an 11.1 AB/HR ratio during his time with the Braves, he has endeared himself to a club that needed exactly what he has provided and also given other clubs reason to believe he could do the same for them if given an opportunity.
"He's been pretty darn good," Braves catcher Tyler Flowers said. "He got off on the right foot, too. I'm sure that helped him to relax a little more with some big hits early. He's kind of fit in right away. He's a quiet guy anyway, but he has opened up here recently. I think he's having a lot of fun being here, and we're enjoying him being in the lineup."
Mark Bowman has covered the Braves for MLB.com since 2001.