MLB rumors: Is Freddie Freeman in play for the Yankees?

Freddie Freeman Yankees rumors
Freddie Freeman
Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

It was almost deemed unthinkable at the start of Major League Baseball’s offseason that first baseman Freddie Freeman will be manning first base for anyone other than the Atlanta Braves. 

The five-time All-Star and 2020 NL MVP is fresh off winning a World Series for the Braves, completing a monstrous three-year stretch that saw him post 162-game averages of .304/.402/.544 (.946 OPS) with 35 home runs and 111 RBI.

But Freeman and the Braves were unable to reach an agreement before the owners’ lockout froze all communication between teams and players — the 32-year-old reportedly turning down a five-year, $135 million offer from Atlanta because he wants a six-year deal. 

When the lockout ends and the lines of communications re-open, Freeman will likely find the deal he’s looking for quickly — but it might not be from the Braves. 

ESPN’s Buster Olney reported on Tuesday that “there is a growing belief that Freeman will land somewhere outside of Atlanta because of the standoff in his negotiations.”

Enter the Yankees.

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The Bronx Bombers will always be seen as a major player for marquee free agents given their history from earlier this century. Moving in on Freeman would make an abundance of sense, too. 

New York possesses an overly-right-handed lineup that is in need of top-notch, professional power from the left side of the dish. Freeman would provide just that in the friendly confines of Yankee Stadium with that short porch in right field. 

The problem is this version of the Yankees deals more in frugality than ever. Hal Steinbrenner had his club operate within the limits of MLB’s luxury tax threshold and if he chooses to do so again, signing Freeman wouldn’t bet the right fit. 

According to Spotrac, the Yankees’ current payroll is at $211.2 million — which is slightly over the current number set at $210 million. Granted, that could change depending on lockout negotiations between the players’ union and the league. It likely wouldn’t make an exponential leap if it did go up, though. 

The Yankees already have the massive contracts of Gerrit Cole and Giancarlo Stanton to pay while facing the prospect of doling out another big deal to Aaron Judge. This is Judge’s final season under team control and alluded that extension negotiations will not happen after Opening Day