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.
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.