ATLANTA - Braves first baseman Freddie Freeman has two seasons remaining on his current contract, and while the Braves won't comment on potential extension talks, their general manager was adamant they want Freeman to be a Braves lifer.
Freeman, 30, debuted in 2010 and grew into the organization's foundation over the past decade. Hall of Famer Chipper Jones passed the face-of-the-franchise torch to Freeman, who blossomed into the Braves' most recognized representative on and off the diamond.
A four-time All-Star, Freeman is coming off arguably the best season of his career. He hit .295/.389/.549 with 38 homers and 121 RBIs. A bone spur in his elbow derailed his finish, but Freeman underwent surgery last month to clean up the elbow. He's expected to be fully ready for spring training.
The Braves signed outfielder Ronald Acuna and second baseman Ozzie Albies to long-term deals last season. While there's no urgency to reach a deal with Freeman, both sides have made it clear they want to keep him in Atlanta for his entire career – just like Jones.
"When it comes to this kind of stuff, we'll never come out – other than he's awesome, he's been more than you could hope for just the two years I've been around him," Braves general manager Alex Anthopoulos said at the GM meetings. "And he's said this, (we) hope he's here for the remainder of his career. That hasn't changed.
"Whenever those conversations take place, whether they have or haven't, we're going to work really hard to keep those really quiet. But it speaks for itself. He's a huge part of our team. Wants to be here. Drafted and developed here. Our hope is he's here for the rest of his career."
Freeman is nearing the end of an eight-year, $135 million deal. He's set to make $22 million in each of the next two seasons.
He's remained committed and passionate about the only franchise he's known. He endured the Braves' lean years, including a trio of 90-loss campaigns, but wanted to see the rebuild through. Freeman's patience is being rewarded with the Braves' consecutive division titles and deep, young roster that should keep them competitive for the foreseeable future.
© 2019 Cox Media Group.