The Atlanta Braves are usually known as a team that wins games without having a top-tier payroll on the field. Right before the 2013 season, they went out and signed B.J. Upton to the richest contract in the team’s history worth $72.5 million over five seasons. It’s safe to say that the team may have struck out on this deal unless he turns his numbers around in 2014. However, where should their money have gone?
Easy. There is a man that stands at the front of the dugout and gives teammates hugs as they come in after a home run or another good play. Yes, it’s Freddie Freeman. It is crazy to think that Freeman has made himself the face of a franchise that just lost a player like Chipper Jones, but that is exactly what he is doing.
However, when you think of Freeman, what comes to mind other than hugs? It’s easy. He’s the anchor of a pretty good lineup and one of the most underrated defensive players in the league. He has hit for a career average of .285, which I believe is very close to what he will finish at, with 68 home runs and 280 RBIs over three full seasons with the team. He holds a strong fielding percentage of .993.
On top of that, he only made $560,000 this past season. That’s a steal for a player that finished fifth in the MVP voting and who went to his first All-Star game. His salary is well under the league average of $3.39 million in 2013, and remember, Freeman isn’t an average player. It’s about time the Braves break their routine of signing players to one-year deals to hold them over. Oh yeah, he’s only 23-years-old too.
Freeman deserves to the make money that an All-Star and possible MVP candidate deserves. I can see Freeman making around $10-13 million a year after his arbitration is settled, and I feel that he could possibly be worth around $15 million per year before he reaches the age of 30.