The New York Yankees and the Los Angeles Dodgers will be closely monitoring Freddie Freeman’s situation after the lockout, as there is a “growing belief”, according to ESPN insider Buster Olney, that the slugger won’t be re-signing with the Atlanta Braves. Don’t count the New York Mets out of the sweepstakes yet, however.
The Mets’ lineup is pretty much set after the Starling Marte, Eduardo Escobar, and Mark Canha acquisitions, plus the pending return of suspended infielder Robinson Cano. One would think the team should direct their efforts to bringing at least two additional starters and an extra reliever.
However, the Steven Cohen Mets always want to go for more. According to Olney (link to MetsMerized Online article here), they checked in on Freeman before the lockout.
In the hypothetical case Freeman signs for the Mets, Pete Alonso would be the designated hitter, and the lineup would be one of the best in baseball, if not the best. Alonso, Freeman, Marte, Canha, Escobar, Francisco Lindor, Brandon Nimmo, Cano, and Jeff McNeil are a pretty good unit, although Cano’s spot on the roster is still a question mark.
The Mets have competition for Freeman
According to Olney, the Toronto Blue Jays are a team to watch as well in the Freeman race. They have a gap in the infield after failing to re-sign Marcus Semien, but Vladimir Guerrero Jr. is firmly entrenched as the starting first baseman. He would DH if Freeman goes to Canada.
Freeman, the NL MVP in 2020 and one of the most important contributors in the Braves’ World Series run last year, hit .300/.393/.503 with 31 home runs, 83 RBIs, and a 4.7 rWAR in 159 games with Atlanta.
The problem, for the Mets, is that if they sign Freeman, they would have to surrender the 14th overall pick because the slugging first baseman declined the qualifying offer from the Braves. That is if the current compensation system stands after the collective bargaining agreement is negotiated.