Braves first baseman Freddie Freeman was known to be dealing with an elbow issue late in the season, but he never made any excuses or let on how serious it was. On Friday, we learned that he underwent surgery on the elbow Wednesday. Per a Braves' press release: 

Atlanta Braves 1B Freddie Freeman underwent arthroscopic right elbow surgery Wednesday in New York, NY. Dr. David Altchek performed the procedure. 

Dr. Altchek explored and cleaned out the entire right elbow joint during the procedure, removing three fragmented loose bodies and cleaning up multiple bone spur formations that had developed in the first baseman's right elbow. Freeman is expected to be ready for spring training next season. 

Freeman, 30, hit .295/.389/.549 (136 OPS+) with 34 doubles, 38 homers, 121 RBI and 113 runs. Expect him to get some down-ballot MVP love a year after finishing fourth. It wasn't a career year by his lofty standards, but Freeman did set career highs in home runs, RBI and runs. 

The elbow injury likely showed itself in the playoffs, though. Freeman hit .200/.273/.400 in the Braves' five-game loss to the Cardinals in the NLDS. In Games 2-4, he was 0 for 12 with four strikeouts and he even made some uncharacteristic defensive gaffes. The unfortunate reality -- given how competitive this series was -- is that Freeman's injury might have cost the Braves a spot in the NLCS. 

The good news is he'll be good to go for next spring. The Braves have a strong, young core and figure to be one of the favorites in the NL East along with the now-NL champion Nationals. A big offseason awaits for the front office, but they have an excellent foundation, starting with their offensive cornerstone, Mr. Freddie Freeman.