The Atlanta Braves may be struggling in the 2021 season, but they aren't interested in parting with superstar first baseman Freddie Freeman, according to a report from Jon Heyman of the MLB Network.
And the feeling is reportedly mutual:
Jon Heyman @JonHeyman
While there’s some chance, considering all the unfortunate things that have befallen the Braves, they may sell, Freddie Freeman isn’t going anywhere in trade. No surprise they want to keep the superstar, and he’s told them he wants to stay long-term. <a href="https://twitter.com/MLBNetwork?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@MLBNetwork</a>
The Braves are just 44-45 on the season, four games behind the New York Mets in the NL East and seven games behind the San Diego Padres for the second wild-card spot in the National League.
Worse, star outfielder Ronald Acuna Jr. tore his ACL on Saturday, ending his season.
"The only thing I can say is that I'm obviously going to put maximum effort to come back stronger than ever," he told reporters Sunday. "If was giving 500 percent before, I'm about to start giving 1,000 percent."
With Acuna out for the year along with Huascar Ynoa, Mike Soroka and likely Ian Anderson, you could hardly blame the Braves if they called the 2021 season a wash and became sellers before the July 30 trade deadline. Nothing has gone to plan this year—the bullpen has struggled, the lineup has underachieved and injuries have been an issue.
Cursed season, indeed.
Freeman has been steady though slightly disappointing after his fantastic MVP campaign last year, hitting .274 with 19 homers, 50 RBI, 58 runs and an .871 OPS. That's about in line with his career .891 OPS, though it's far below the epic 1.102 OPS he notched last year.
Still just 31, the five-time All-Star has plenty of excellent baseball left in the tank. But he'll also be an unrestricted free agent after the season, which is why it wouldn't be shocking if the Braves chose to shop him. Atlanta is the only team the California native has played for since he was drafted in 2007 and made his MLB debut three years later.
But it would be hard to imagine the Braves without him. For now, it sounds as though neither the Braves or Freeman can (or want to) imagine it either.