Freeman a free agent after declining QO

November 17th, 2021

ATLANTA -- On Wednesday afternoon, officially rejected the Braves’ qualifying offer, which was worth $18.4 million over one year. The Braves will get a 2022 Draft pick beyond the Competitive Balance Round B if Freeman signs elsewhere.

As for Freeman, he will continue seeking a contract that will most likely be worth $25 million to $30 million per season. The Braves are hopeful that they will re-sign the 32-year-old first baseman, the 2020 National League MVP, even with the Yankees, Red Sox, Rangers and Dodgers among the teams already in pursuit.

When it comes to the most iconic position players in Braves history, there's Hank Aaron, Eddie Mathews, Dale Murphy, Chipper Jones, Andruw Jones and Freeman. Chipper Jones is the only member of this group to play his entire career for the Braves; Andruw Jones is the only one to depart while seemingly still in his prime.

Freeman has made it clear that he doesn’t want to leave Atlanta, but he also didn’t want to reach the free agent market. Now that he has, he realizes he may not get his wish to follow Chipper Jones' path.

“They expressed they want to keep me here, and I’ve expressed I want to stay here,” Freeman said before the postseason. “Did I think I’d be here with no extension? No, I didn’t think that at all. I thought this would be long gone. But I’m here.”

Freeman got off to a slow start in 2021 as he and his wife dealt with the addition of two sons to their family. But from June 10 through the end of the regular season, he ranked second in the NL with a .342 batting average and sixth with a .960 OPS. He ended the season hitting .300 with 31 homers and an .896 OPS. His strong finish left him as the only Major Leaguer (min. 250 plate appearances) to record a 130 OPS+ each of the past nine seasons. Mike Trout and Paul Goldschmidt are the only others to have done this seven times within that span.

Freeman also joined Aaron, Chipper Jones, Mathews and Murphy as the only players in Braves history to hit 30 homers with a .300 batting average in multiple seasons.