It wasn’t just shocking to see the Braves not bring back Freddie Freeman, but for them to essential replace their 12-year first baseman for Matt Olson.
As Atlanta loves to sign young talent to team-friendly deals (like Ronald Acuna Jr. and Ozzie Albies), the reasoning was simple, but will Olson be able to produce better numbers than Freeman did during his tenure?
Olson signed an 8-year deal, which, based on his season’s average since breaking into the Bigs, would leave him at about 1,763 games played. This is just 200 more games than Freeman, who just signed up to play 6-more years for LA. But for this comparison, we will start by looking at the projected inflation rates of the next 6 seasons.
|Next 6 Seasons||Freeman|
|Total Salary||$162 million|
($42 over final 2 years)
Since the MLB’s inflation rates are in a bit of a plateau outside of home runs, their numbers will not change much from their season numbers.
Plus, both Freeman and Olson have been in the lineup at similar rates over their careers, as they both have played 92% of the possible regular-season games since becoming established big leaguers.
But even though Freeman has the benefit in terms of consistency, these numbered projections can be said with more confidence for Olson due to age. This is not to say that Freeman is going to need the walker to get to the box at the end of his contract, but Atlanta has built their core on paying for young stars before their prime, which is exactly what it looks like Olson will be for them as he enters his age 28 season.
So looking financially, yes, the Braves did save some money for a similar production level, as Olson has the advantage in terms of power numbers. That being said, Freeman does deserve every penny of his new deal, as he looks to make it a fifth consecutive year receiving MVP votes.