The New York Yankees have first baseman Luke Voit on the roster, but don’t appear to be sold on his long-term health and defensive abilities. That’s why they have been linked to Atlanta Braves’ slugger Freddie Freeman ever since the offseason started.
Freeman, of course, remains a highly productive run producer at 32. He hit .300/.393/.503 with 31 home runs, 120 runs, 83 RBI, a 135 wRC+, and 4.5 Wins Above Replacement (WAR). His left-handed bat would fit in like a glove in the Yankees’ lineup, that’s for sure. But how much is he worth?
USA Today’s Bob Nightengale (link to NJ Advance Media article here) gave us an idea:
“The most intriguing free agent watch will be Atlanta first baseman Freddie Freeman when the lockout ends. He rejected a five-year, $135 million deal during the season, is seeking a six-year, $180 million deal, and now we’ll soon see if Atlanta ups its offer or lets him walk away,” he said.
Will the Yankees pay the price?
Before free agency started, ESPN had projected Freeman to get around six years and $156 million, while The Athletic’s Jim Bowden forecasted a six-year, $187 million pact.
FanGraphs’ estimated Freeman’s value in the open market at $35.9 million per season, according to his on-field production, so his demands are not unreasonable.
The Braves don’t want to go six years, as they apparently fear that would be too long of a commitment. Will the Yankees be willing to go that long, considering they badly need a shortstop and they also need to extend Aaron Judge?
Of course, the Yankees could always keep Voit, who is a very talented hitter, or re-sign Anthony Rizzo, who remains a solid defender but has a declining bat. The trade market also presents a very intriguing alternative for New York: trading for Matt Olson (39 homers in 2021), and they could also include some much-needed pitching.
The lockout is still going on, however, so it may not be a while until we see what the Yankees are going to do about their first base situation.