With the MLB is currently in lockout mode given the CBA expiring in early December, there isn’t a ton of news and notes being brought forward considering there are no transactions taking place. While the Blue Jays made news with the Kevin Gausman signing before the owners locked out the players, there was some recent chatter involving the club and another premium free agent that has quite a few fans stirring this winter.
Shi Davidi at Sportsnet revealed that the Blue Jays met with first baseman Freddie Freeman’s representatives before the CBA expired on December 1st. Fresh off winning a World Series championship with the Atlanta Braves, Freeman hits free agency and is starting to explore the market, although many predict that the California product will stick with the Braves for the long term. He is currently looking for a six-year deal in the $180 million range.
Through 12 seasons with the Braves, Freeman has established himself as one of the top first basemen in the league. He owns a career .295/.384/.509 with 271 home runs and 941 RBI, sporting an impressive .893 OPS through 5767 at-bats. A five-time all-star, Freeman has won three consecutive silver slugger awards in the NL and also has a Gold Glove Award as well as an MVP Award in 2020.
It is tough to not get excited about a potential Freddie Freeman – Blue Jays connection, especially since the club posted one of the best offensive lineups last season. While it is most likely just the front office doing its due diligence on a premium free agent, something Davidi mentions as well, adding Freeman to the Jays roster definitely creates one of the most feared batting orders in the league, especially after the recent departure of Marcus Semien to Texas.
The Blue Jays recently met with Freddie Freeman’s representatives before the MLB lockout and it’s tough to not get excited about how the club would fit him in with the current roster.
Overall, adding Freeman to the Jays lineup provides the left-handed bat the club lacks given their current core but he doesn’t fulfill a need on the roster position-wise at first base. With Vladimir Guerrero Jr. spending all of last year at first base and starting to find a groove at the position, I find it difficult to imagine the club using both players in a first base/DH tandem. The club could transition Guerrero back to third base, a move that comes with a defensive downgrade over internal options like Santiago Espinal or Kevin Smith, but allows the club to keep both players in the lineup without putting one of them in a limited DH role.
Batting order-wise, Freeman could slot in either after Guerrero Jr. in the clean-up role or after Teoscar Hernandez at number five. I personally would have him slot in at number four, making it look something like this:
- George Springer – CF
- Bo Bichette – SS
- Vladimir Guerrero Jr. – 3B
- Freddie Freeman – 1B
- Teoscar Hernandez – RF
- Lourdes Gurriel Jr. – LF
- Cavan Biggio – 2B
- Randal Grichuk – DH
- Danny Jansen / Alejandro Kirk / Reese McGuire
While there would be some question marks in regards to who would DH (I put Grichuk in this role for now but that could change), this lineup easily becomes an instant powerhouse that could see the club rank highly in many offensive categories, similar to last season. Freeman also comes with playoff experience after his time with the Braves and would be an excellent addition to the young core and the few veterans on the roster.
It’s tough to not get excited about a Freeman addition to the Blue Jays, especially after the club was linked to Corey Seager before he signed with Texas. This gives the impression that Ross Atkins and co. are still willing to spend to create the best roster possible, which means they could still be open to adding a big-ticket player like Freeman.
Adding the slugger doesn’t fill a hole in the roster like if the club was to add Jose Ramirez or Matt Chapman at third base but provides stability at first base and adds some left-handed firepower that should give the AL East pitchers a terrible time every time they step on the mound against the Blue Jays. He also
I wouldn’t necessarily start pre-ordering the Freddie Freeman jersey in the light blue just yet but considering how aggressive the front office has been early this season, it makes sense that fans should be excited about the slugger potentially taking his talents to Toronto. Only time will tell.