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The Atlanta Braves are World Series champions and now baseball is in the middle of its first work stoppage since the 1994-95 strike. MLB and the MLBPA were unable to agree to a new collective bargaining agreement prior to the Dec. 1 deadline, so the owners locked out the players, and the hot stove has been put on hold for the foreseeable future.

Throughout the offseason the CBS Sports MLB experts will bring you a weekly Batting Around roundtable breaking down pretty much anything. The latest news, a historical question, thoughts about the future of baseball, all sorts of stuff. Last week we tried to predict where Carlos Correa and Trevor Story will sign. This week we're going to discuss Freddie Freeman's future.

Where will Freddie Freeman sign after the lockout?

R.J. Anderson: I've been of the mind that Freeman returns to the Braves all along. I'll admit my confidence has wavered by virtue of them not reaching an agreement prior to the lockout, but I still have a hard time believing the Braves would allow him to walk after winning the World Series. Yes, it's risky to give a 30-something-year-old first baseman five or six years, but Freeman seems positioned to age well. Besides, the alternatives are what? Trading assets for Matt Olson and then having to pay him on a long-term deal? Or downgrading by signing Anthony Rizzo, a 30-something-year-old first baseman with back issues? Bringing Freeman back just makes too much sense to not happen.

Matt Snyder: It's rather annoying that the Braves didn't just meet Freeman's price at some point during the season and it's even worse they didn't do so after winning the World Series -- especially since so many players were calling for it during their World Series parade and ensuing celebration in Truist Park. Keep in mind, the Braves posted a record in quarter three revenue for Liberty Media (financial details all in here) and that only runs through September. The Braves hosted three regular-season games, two NLDS games, three NLCS games -- including the pennant-clincher -- and three World Series games in October. 

All this is to say it's pretty pathetic if the Braves don't do whatever it takes to lock up a franchise icon, especially with Ronald Acuña, Jr. and Ozzie Albies making so far below their own market value.  I'd love to be able to say this feet-dragging is going to cost the Braves, but I think ultimately a deal is reached in Atlanta. 

Dayn Perry: Largely for the sake of dodging the consensus, I'll say the Dodgers. They've been softly linked to Freeman this offseason, and they certainly have the resources to get something done. Inking Freeman would require Max Muncy to move off first base, but the likelihood of the universal DH and Muncy's positional flexibility make that a lesser concern. Do I actually think Freeman-to-L.A. will happen? Hush.

Mike Axisa: I think it'll be the Braves. It makes too much sense to not happen. My sleeper pick: Mariners. They have the money (even if they pretend they don't) and there are ways to keep Ty France's bat in the lineup. I know Seattle likes Evan White, but come on. He's given them no reason to count on him, and if he's on the MLB roster to begin 2022, it will be because of his contract and his contract only. The Mariners are an ascendant team that clearly needs a middle-of-the-order bat and veteran leadership dude to complement youngsters like Jarred Kelenic and Julio Rodríguez. Hard to think of a better candidate for that role than Freeman.