Freddie Freeman reiterates desire to spend career with Braves

National League's Freddie Freeman, of the Atlanta Braves, laughs with former player Michael Bourn during batting practice prior to the MLB All-Star baseball game, Tuesday, July 13, 2021, in Denver. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)
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National League's Freddie Freeman, of the Atlanta Braves, laughs with former player Michael Bourn during batting practice prior to the MLB All-Star baseball game, Tuesday, July 13, 2021, in Denver. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)

Credit: AP

DENVER - As uncertainty continues to swirl over Freddie Freeman’s potential free agency after this season, the Braves first baseman remains adamant he wants to spend his entire career with the franchise.

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Freeman, 31, was in Denver this week for his fifth All-Star game (and third consecutive start). The reigning National League MVP spoke with The Atlanta Journal-Constitution during the NL team’s batting practice and reiterated his desire to re-sign with the Braves.

“Yes, 100% (I want to stay),” Freeman said. “I hope something gets done. I wish something had (already) been done so we’re not talking about this. But I’m just the player. I don’t bring contracts down or offer contracts or talk and all that. I hope I’m here. I really do. I love this organization with all my heart.

“I’ve been here since I was 17 years old and I turn 32 in September. There’s nowhere else I’d rather be, so I truly do hope something gets done. But I can’t control that, unfortunately, or we wouldn’t be having this conversation. So I hope, either in the next three months or if they really want it to go to free agency or whatever, I really hope something works out where I’m still putting on this uniform every day.”

Earlier in the season, Freeman repeatedly said there were no contract talks with the club. Freeman, who debuted in 2010 and has been a staple in the team’s infield since 2011, is completing an eight-year contract worth $135 million. During the deal, Freeman became the face of franchise, remaining committed through a rebuild until the Braves re-emerged in 2018, when they won their first of three consecutive division crowns.

Freeman’s position hasn’t wavered. Since the season started, he’s stressed in every interview a strong hope that he’ll remain a Brave. General manager Alex Anthopoulos said multiple times last winter the team wants to extend Freeman.

Anthopoulos’ most recent public comments on the matter came in early April, when during an interview on Bally Sports South’s broadcast, Anthopoulos said: “The best thing I can say is we want him here, he wants to be here and, at the end of the day, it’s on us to make sure we can get it done.”

Freeman has indeed put the ball in their court, as the expression goes. While fans have shown collective anxiety over Freeman potentially departing for a team in his home state of California, or leaving for a hefty contract with another big-market contender, Freeman’s words have consistently indicated that’s not his preference.

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Freddie Freeman as a Braves rookie in 2010.

Credit: Curtis Compton

Freddie Freeman as a Braves rookie in 2010.
Caption
Freddie Freeman as a Braves rookie in 2010.

Credit: Curtis Compton

Credit: Curtis Compton

He wants to stay with the Braves, a franchise he’s proud to represent at the All-Star game, and join rare modern company in spending his career with one team.

“It means a lot (to represent Atlanta at the All-Star game),” Freeman said. “When you get to put on a jersey, especially (Monday’s) jersey with Hank Aaron’s jersey (number) on it, for me to wear the same uniform as Hank Aaron and to put on a uniform with so much history. People care about the name on the front and I do, too. I care about this (on the front) way more than the back. So to put on a Braves jersey every single day, you never take it for granted. Never take it for granted.

“There have been so many great players to put on a Braves jersey. It’s absolutely incredible. When you have an organization that’s been around for 150 years, it’s pretty amazing. I love it. I’ve been blessed to wear it for 12 years in the major leagues and three more in the minor leagues, even though one was a (Myrtle Beach) Pelicans jersey. The other couple were Braves jerseys as well. It’s been special. Every single second I put on this jersey means a lot to me, so I really hope I can continue to do that going forward.”

In a situation ridden with unknowns, Freeman has made one element of the conversation clear: He wants to re-sign. Certainly, in a year where little has made Braves fans smile, that’d please a lot of people – Freeman included.

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