And if the latest rumor about what the Dodgers might offer comes to fruition, New York could be left holding their longer-term bag.
Conventional wisdom about Freeman seems to have gone out the window in recent days.
Not only is he suddenly unlikely to return to Atlanta after an entire offseason of speculation felt like much ado about nothing, but he’s also likely going to be snapped up by someone shortly after the MLB Lockout wraps.
Carlos Correa and Trevor Story may take their time, but Freeman seems to have something worked out, whether the other party knows it or not.
Does that mean the Yankees or Dodgers can come calling with the sixth year the Braves refuse to promise? Suddenly, it might not be that simple, either, according to one agent who speculated recently that LA could be pulling ahead, but has no plans of offering a sixth year.
Could the Yankees get outworked by a rumored Freddie Freeman contract?
As Buster Olney put it (subscription required):
"“For Freeman, the most likely alternative to the Braves might be the Dodgers. Some agents believe Andrew Friedman, the head of baseball operations for L.A., would never devote a six-year deal to a first baseman entering the back half of his career. ‘But a shorter term deal that’s really lucrative — I could see that,’ said one agent, positing a four-year, $140 million contract as more workable for L.A.”"
Interesting, and could give Freeman another two-or-three-year payday at the end of the rope from age 35-38 depending on his earning power at that time.
Unfortunately, this is nightmarish from a Yankees standpoint, considering it’s the exact opposite of what they tend to offer. In fact, Brian Cashman typically bends over backwards to balance their long-term finances, gifting coveted free agents with an additional year instead of additional dollars.
The Yankees would rather keep an aging player on their payroll for an additional year rather than pay him up front, which recently came to a head in the DJ LeMahieu chase that resulted in a six-year deal for a lower-than-expected AAV.
Of course, it helped that LeMahieu reportedly really wanted to be here and Freeman reportedly might prefer the Dodgers. Preferences dictate whether a player is wowed by a given idea or disillusioned by it, tempted instead by whatever’s going on on the other side of the country.
If the Yankees are going to sign Freeman, it will be because they offered both something approaching the highest bid and the most long-term security. If Freeman would rather earn more money over a shorter period of time, the Yankees likely won’t consider the proposal.