With Freddie Freeman signing an eight-year, $135 million deal, the Atlanta Braves made the most expensive financial committment in franchise history this week.
This is nothing scoff at, either. Historically great players have donned the team’s various uniforms over the years — Hank Aaron, Chipper Jones, Greg Maddux, Tom Glavine; Hall of Fame guys — but none garnered the type of long-term extension Freeman was given, a deal that will buy out his remaining three arbitration years and his first five free agent seasons.
Of course, market economics plays a factor here, but he’s still the second-youngest player to ever sign a $100-plus million deal, right behind Albert Pujols and just ahead of Clayton Kershaw. Some company, huh?
This is a substantial move on a wider scale, too. The deals that young stars like Andrew McCutchen, Paul Goldschmidt and Carlos Gonzalez are dwarfed by the $135 million.
So, was it a smart move for the Braves? They take on the risk of paying a young player with a limited track record a bunch of money, more than the market has called for in recent years, but there’s a chance he’s coming even cheaper now than he would have as a free agent, especially if he continues to develop into a middle-of-the-lineup force. And what does this mean for the rest of the Braves’ young corps? Our writers discuss that and more in the latest Chopcast: