Freddie Freeman: ‘There is nothing going on’ with potential contract talks

Credit: Atlanta Braves

Braves first baseman Freddie Freeman, the reigning NL MVP, says there are no on-going negotiations with the team on a new contract.

Braves first baseman Freddie Freeman said Tuesday he had no update to offer on potential contract negotiations between him and the team. Freeman, 31, could become a free agent following this season.

Freeman last addressed his contract status on opening day, when he said there was “nothing to report.” Speaking with reporters Tuesday before the Braves’ series opener against the Yankees in New York, he said the same.

“There is no negotiations,” he said. “I’m worried about (Yankees starter Jameson) Taillon tonight, and that’s it. There’s nothing going on.”

Freeman is the heart and soul of the Braves. After enduring the lean rebuilding years, he’s seen his patience rewarded in recent seasons with three consecutive National League East titles and an NL Championship Series berth in 2020. Freeman is in his 12th season with the team. He’s completing an eight-year, $135 million deal he signed in February 2014.

While Freeman and Braves general manager Alex Anthopoulos have publicly expressed a desire to keep Freeman with the franchise his entire career, neither side has indicated any talks have taken place. Anthopoulos was asked repeatedly about discussions with Freeman’s camp over the offseason, to which he always responded by saying the organization will keep those conversations in-house. Freeman is represented by Excel Sports Management.

Freeman, the reigning NL MVP, said he wasn’t concerned about his contract status Tuesday. He didn’t sound very interested in negotiating during the season.

“I don’t know if we could really even talk right now,” Freeman said. “That would be a distraction, and I don’t like distractions. So my main focus is the game tonight. I don’t think there’s going to be much talking going on anytime soon.”

That won’t quell fan concerns that Freeman could end up reaching free agency this winter. While to many it’s felt like an inevitability that Freeman would re-sign with the Braves, until it happens, the door is left open for another result.

On the field, Freeman expects his results to soon improve after a slow start. He’s hit .232/.394/.536 with five homers, 10 RBIs and 10 runs scored over the first 16 games. The underlying data suggests Freeman has been struck with bad luck that will eventually level out. Remember: He started slowly last season, hitting .190 in his first 13 games before surging the rest of the campaign en route to becoming the Braves’ first MVP winner since 1999.

“I feel great at the plate,” Freeman said. “I’ve been hitting the ball hard. At the beginning, I was only working on the right side of the field. A lot of balls I was pulling to the right side. Even though I was still hitting it hard, it wasn’t where I really wanted it to go. The field is starting to shift back to middle and left center. I think that’s why balls are starting to get through a little more. I feel great at the plate. I’ve been seeing the ball really well, so hopefully that can continue.”