Freddie Freeman update can work in Yankees’ favor when lockout ends
The New York Yankees were nothing more than an extremely dark horse Freddie Freeman option when the offseason began. The possibility wasn’t even worth blurting out, let alone writing about.
But … what about … now?
Though we wish the Luke Voit Era had lasted far longer — “2020 home run champion” mean nothing to you people? — it seems that both sides have severed ties, which was evident from the slugger’s second-half playing time. The glove isn’t quite there, but the bat always will be … alas, the Yankees seem prepared to sacrifice offense, and we’re done arguing.
So … who plays first base? Anthony Rizzo, Matt Olson or DJ LeMahieu, right? Well, don’t sleep on the madness bubbling below the surface in Atlanta.
The Freeman-Braves lifetime deal fait accompli has not come to pass; in fact, the two sides remain rather far apart on what we’ve been told is a sixth year.
What should be a “blank check” situation is still percolating, giving the other two teams we’ve heard as suitors a chance to rejoin the fray when this is all over: yes, Freeman’s hometown Los Angeles Dodgers, but also our Yankees.
Could the Yankees get involved on Freddie Freeman?
No long-time partners ever want to have any friction. The goal, of course, is to avoid any awkwardness. But by far the worst time to have a rough patch is before a months-long lockout where you’re not allowed to touch base. The prevailing feeling is now, “This is bad,” and there’s no legal way to correct it.
Inclinations are that if Freeman’s free agency really opens up, the Yankees will still be situated behind the Dodgers, who are nursing an injured Max Muncy at first and have whiffed on retaining most of their major free agents this offseason. But Brian Cashman has to — has to — exit this offseason with either Freeman, Olson or Rizzo at first base. Silly to say it, but the need is perhaps even more dire than at first base. There’s no one coming down the pike. You can’t open the season with a singles-hitting second baseman playing corner infield as your Plan A. One of these three men must be in pinstripes, and while we’d written Freeman off, we were clearly foolish to do so.
Of course, if the Yankees do trade for Olson, they can address their pitching in the process, too, which makes surrendering assets a bit more appealing.
Freeman costs money alone, though.
If all it takes to pry a recent MVP — and arguably the only first baseman who had a better 2020 than Luke Voit himself — away from his forever home is cash, the Yankees should cross the $200 million threshold without batting an eye.
Three lefties. Three first base preferences. One seems poised to age spectacularly, and he’s beefing with his ex-employer. The time is right to acquire a FreeBomb.