The Players Union and MLB owners came to a conclusion on Thursday afternoon to finally end the lock out. What does that mean for baseball? The return of free agency is imminent, and the New York Yankees are expected to be major players once negotiations heat up.
Prior to the lockout, the Yankees had requested medicals for Carlos Correa, Carlos Rodon, and Yusei Kikuchi.
However, they are targeting one massive acquisition, Atlanta Braves first baseman Freddie Freeman. The Yankees and Freeman have been connected several times during the lockout, despite no ongoing negotiations between the two sides.
There is still potential that Freeman sticks with the Braves, having just won the World Series last season, but the Yankees are preparing a sizable offer that would lock him into a multi-year contract. Clearly, the team isn’t looking to waste any time with the regular season expected to start in mid-April.
With only Luke Voit on the roster and Anthony Rizzo hitting the open market, there’s a good chance the Yankees acquire Freeman and make him their starting first baseman, opening day.
“He’s definitely still on the table,” a source told Brendan Kuty of NJ.com.
Freeman is coming off of season where he hit. 300 with 31 homers and 83 RBIs. His 15.4% strikeout rate would be fantastic for a team that hovers over the 20% mark. Given Freeman is a lefty batter, he could hit 40+ homers at Yankee Stadium, which features a short right porch.
While Freddie isn’t known for his elite defensive qualities, his offensive capabilities make up for any deficiencies tenfold. The luxury tax threshold now sits at $230 million, so the Bombers have plenty of money to spend. The team’s 2021 payroll was $209 million.
Aside from Freeman, expect general manager Brian Cashman to be active in the starting pitching market as well, especially after losing Corey Kluber in free agency earlier this off-season to the Tampa Bay Rays.