The New York Yankees are expected to "take a run" at free-agent first baseman Freddie Freeman when Major League Baseball's owner-imposed lockout is lifted, according to MLB Network's Jon Heyman. (Teams are not allowed to contact players or agents during the lockout, according to the league's rules.)
The Yankees' rumored interest in Freeman is nothing new. Back in November, CBS Sports even mentioned New York as one of five potential landing spots for Freeman if he did the unthinkable and left the Atlanta Braves after winning the World Series last fall. (We should note that we were dismissive of the idea, thinking that the Yankees would instead pursue shortstop Carlos Correa as their big offseason addition.)
While most of the industry has expected Freeman and the Braves to work out their differences and agree to a new contract, it's notable that the first half of MLB's offseason came and went without the two sides agreeing to a pact.
The Braves, for their part, have since shown interest in first-base alternatives, be it trade targets like Matt Olson (Oakland Athletics), or free agents like Anthony Rizzo (coincidentally, most recently of the Yankees). It's only fair, then, that Freeman evaluates his own options.
Freeman entered the offseason ranked by CBS Sports as the fifth-best available free agent. Here's what we wrote at the time:
It's hard to imagine the Braves allowing Freeman to leave. Still, we're including him for posterity's sake. Freeman is a sensational hitter who hasn't posted an OPS+ of less than 130 since he was a 22-year-old in 2012. He's also a mighty fine first baseman, and he's become a bastion of durability as of late: over the last four years, he's appeared in 539 of the Braves' 545 games (that's 98.9 percent, for those without access to a calculator). It's to be seen what kind of term Freeman seeks, but on paper he seems like someone who should age gracefully.