There is a “growing belief” Yankees’ target won’t return to Atlanta

freddie freeman, yankees

The futures of Freddie Freeman and Matt Olson appear to be tied to each other’s. They are the best available first baseman in the market once the lockout ends: one, Freeman, is a free agent, while Olson is a prime trade piece that the Oakland Athletics will likely flip during this offseason. The New York Yankees should be considering both.

First base is not as pressing of a need as shortstop for the Yankees: they have Luke Voit to play the cold corner, while shortstop is a huge question mark. But they would like a better defender who is also a better bet to stay healthy than Voit.

Some encouraging news are coming from Atlanta in the last few hours. According to ESPN insider Buster Olney, there is a “growing belief” that Freeman won’t be returning there. After leading them to the World Series title (for the first time since 1995) and winning the NL MVP award in 2020, the Braves don’t seem eager to pay the 32-year-old Freeman what he’s seeking.

Will the Yankees pay Freeman what he wants?

Freeman reportedly wants something in the neighborhood of six years and $180 million. A lot of money, sure, and a sizable commitment in years, but he has earned every penny: last year, he slashed .300/.393/.503 with 31 home runs, 120 runs, 83 RBI, a 135 wRC+, and 4.5 Wins Above Replacement (WAR).

The Yankees should have Freeman as a potential target, even if they should prioritize shortstop and some more pitching help. Freeman would be perfect for their lineup as a proven left-handed bat with power and patience.

In case they swing and miss with Freeman, Olson presents a nice alternative. He has power (39 homers in 2021) and is a better defender than Freeman at this point, plus he would be cheaper and with a shorter commitment than the Braves’ legend. He would require the Yankees giving up some prospects, though.

Which first baseman would you prefer, all things considered, Freeman or Olson?