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Who to Believe on the Freddie Freeman Rumors?

It seems that every winter, the heating up of internet baseball-related rumors lead to statements that stretch common sense to the maximum.

For example, on Friday, at least two non-credible web sources said that the Atlanta Braves were in discussions with the St. Louis Cardinals to trade their first baseman Freddie Freeman. One went as far as asserting the sides were “close” on a deal. This came on the heels of the Braves dealing away their shortstop, Andrelton Simmons, the day before.

On Friday, I checked with Georgia radio personality and my Scout.com Braves counterpart, Bill Shanks. His source was very clear.

“These rumors linking Freddie Freeman to St. Louis are not true.”

On Sunday, the rumor popped up again, but from a very well-known source this time. Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports posted an article that included this statement.

“Officials from three different clubs told me that the Braves have indeed shopped first baseman Freddie Freeman, with one saying such a possibility was “the talk of the (Arizona) Fall League” among scouts about 10 days ago.”

That same evening, Braves beat writer David O’Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution checked with his Braves sources.

“I asked again about Freeman and Teheran, was told no talks and no intentions to move either of them.”

Questioned on Twitter about the apparent conflict between his report and that of Rosenthal’s, O’Brien checked his hole card again, this time quoting Atlanta general manager John Coppolella directly.

“#Braves Coppolella when asked just now specifically about new Freeman rumor: ‘We have not had any trade discussions on Freddie Freeman.’”

Some skeptical Braves fans don’t know if they can believe their team executives. O’Brien replied to such a query while noting the GM did not deny when Simmons was on the block earlier.

“I can’t blame u. Can only tell u response when GM answers question directly.(He didn’t refute Simmons talks last wk)”

On Twitter, Rosenthal suggested both reporters’ accounts could somehow be right.

“@bradjohnson757 @DOBrienAJC We both could be accurate. Making him available and engaging in talks not the same thing.”

Say what?

Sorry, Ken. I am not questioning your original report, but I am definitely questioning your subsequent logic.

I get that officials sometimes play word games to avoid having to answer questions honestly, but there is no wiggle room here.

Rosenthal said Freeman had been “shopped”. Coppolella (through O’Brien) said, “We have not had any trade discussions on Freddie Freeman”. That covers the past and present.

Unless the shopping was completely ignored by the other 29 teams, those statements are in direct conflict.

“Shopped” by definition means the Braves made other clubs aware of Freeman’s potential availability.

What would be the next step?

Dialogue, of course.

There is no way if a player of Freeman’s quality has been thrown out that there would not have been any interest expressed by and information exchanged with at least one of the 29 other MLB teams.

To suggest there were no discussions about this player – if he was shopped – just stretches credulity.

Given Rosenthal’s reputation, I expect he will dig deeper and report further.

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Brian Walton

Brian Walton runs The Cardinal Nation and The Cardinal Nation Blog, covering the St. Louis Cardinals and minor league system.
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49 Responses to “Who to Believe on the Freddie Freeman Rumors?”

  1. crdswmn says:

    There’s a whole lot of obfuscation going on.

    Just have to wait and see if Rosenthal backs off his original report.

  2. JumboShrimp says:

    It is very plausible Freeman is available. The Braves replaced their GM who handed out long term contracts like the one to Freeman.
    however it’s unlikely the cards would be interested in freeman. His production the past two seasons is commonplace. Plus we have Adams and Moss.
    Plus the Cards are now post peak, so there is no reason to hand out prospects to Atlanta like we did last winter. Our business strategy should adjust to reflect we are no longer favorites to win the division in 2016.

    • Brian Walton says:

      Based on where you think the Cardinals are, what do you think “our” business strategy should be? Sounds to me like “give up” is your answer.

      • JumboShrimp says:

        We cannot telegraph giving up. This would be disrespectful to the fans and hurt ticket sales. We will want to make some changes that make us stronger or appear to do so. That’s a duty every off season.

        • JumboShrimp says:

          So we should aim to improve the team, within some fiscal constraints.

          • JumboShrimp says:

            Last years trade with the Braves was a win it now trade for the Cards. For the Braves, they gave up just one year of heywRd and a reliever for two starting pitcher prospects. For them it was a trade for the future.
            The trade worked out for the cards, in that they won the division.

  3. blingboy says:

    Chances are, Freddie is going to be a bad contract real soon. I think the Braves would like to unload him, but with that contract they won’t get much other than dumping the contract. They will probably end up unloading him on a desperate contender at the deadline.

    • Brian Walton says:

      I disagree. Do you have anything you can share to support your prediction of Freeman’s decline?

      • blingboy says:

        I don’t say he will decline. The contract, I believe, assumed an upward trajectory which hasn’t materialized. I don’t think he will produce enough WAR over the duration to be worth the money. At least, it doesn’t look like it as of now.

        • crdswmn says:

          The value of 1 WAR is about $7M give or take. As salaries increase the value of 1 WAR goes up.

          Freddie Freeman was worth 3.4 WAR in 2015. He was worth 4.6 WAR in 2014, when the value of 1 WAR was $6M. If you do the math, Freeman was worth 49M in WAR value over the first two years of the contract. He has been paid under his contract so far $13.62M. So he has already provided $35.38M in surplus value.

          Freeman is 26 years old. He will be 32 years old at the end of his contract. He has $118.5M left on that contract. Subtracting the $35.8M of surplus value he has already provided, he will need to provide $83.12M of value during the life of the contract to reach the break even point. At the current WAR value of $7M he will have to be worth 1.9 WAR each remaining year of the contract. That is assuming the value of 1WAR stays constant over those 6 years. The likelihood of that is virtually zero.

          Therefore, unless Freeman falls below replacement level in the next 6 years, he will at the very least be worth the break even point and will likely produce surplus value. The amount of surplus value will decrease as he ages, making the last years of the contract more expensive than the first, but overall it is unlikely he will be worth negative value.

          • blingboy says:

            What matters is what happens starting now.

            • crdswmn says:

              If he averages 2 WAR over the next six years he will be worth the contract. At 26 years old and with his skill set, the likelihood that he won’t produce at least that much is very low. That’s basically healthy Jon Jay, and Freeman is a much better player than Jay.

              You have nothing to base your opinion that he won’t be worth the contract except your unsubstantiated and pessimistic declarations, which don’t mean much to anyone who understands how baseball works.

              • Brian Walton says:

                crdswmn, thank you for taking time to explain.

                • Bw52 says:

                  Yeah i can just hear the kids now arguing over trading baseball cards; Joe Blow had a 4.1 WAR and your guy Freddy Fungo only had a 2.1 WAR,if you want Joe Blow you better throw in Bob POpup and his 1.25 WHIP to sweeten the deal.Sometimes 1 and1 is still 2 no atter which new way to figure it.

                  • crdswmn says:

                    We are not kids and we are not trading baseball cards, so what is your point exactly?

                    • Bw52 says:

                      Not we are not kids and we are not trading baseball cards.My point is you can simply overanalyze anything.I can understand the use of some of these advanced STAT techniques and ratings and i can understand people that feel the need to numerically rate everything.IMHO paralysis by analysis prevails.I guess i am showing my age but i prefer less statistic overkill.For example Cardswmn you talking about Freeman and WAR being worth 6 or 7 million dollars over value etc;I see what you are saying but putting a monetary amount on WAR just seems to me like stat overkill.Not trying to be hardheaded it just hard to wrap my head around that line of statistical thinking.

                    • crdswmn says:

                      I don’t know what to tell you. it’s a free country and you are entitled to enjoy baseball any way you like. I happen to enjoy it using advanced analysis when I discuss it. That is what I do and will continue to do. I do not find it to be overkill or any of the things you suggest. As for age, I am 56 years old, age has nothing to do with it, it is a willingness to accept and embrace progress rather than fight it and be left behind. That is what I chose to do. It is how I enjoy baseball.

  4. Brian Walton says:

    Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez on MLB Network Radio:

    Fredi Gonzalez says absolutely Freddie Freeman will be playing 1B for the #Braves on opening day in 2016.
    https://twitter.com/MLBNetworkRadio/status/666603642795986944

    Fredi: “I talked to Coppolella. He said [Freeman] rumors are not true. We’ve never even entertained idea. People have called, he’s listened”
    https://twitter.com/MLBNetworkRadio/status/666604045180760064

  5. Bw52 says:

    Angels signed INF Cliff Pennington to a 2 year deal.He was a guy i hoped the Cards would sign .Oh well there are still seveal other ooptions available.Still early yet.

  6. Bw52 says:

    Baseball writers screwed up again…………………Maddon gets MANAGER OF YEAR NL..129 points……………………………Matheny 2nd 87 points…………
    While i am not a MM fan i think it would be a hell of a lot tougher to do what MM did over what Maddon did.Thats my opinion.So the writers got all taken in by CUBBIES crap.Blind hog finds a acorn once in while.

  7. Brian Walton says:

    “I cannot make it any more clear,’’ Coppolella said, “we are not trading Freddie Freeman. We are not. I’d give my right arm before we trade Freddie Freeman. It is not happening.’’

    http://www.usatoday.com/story/sports/mlb/2015/11/17/braves-andrelton-simmons-trade-tanking-freddie-freeman/75963388/

  8. Brian Walton says:

    The saga continues. Jeff Passan of Yahoo says Rosenthal was right. The Braves and Astros briefly discussed a “mega-trade” for Freeman “that went nowhere”, but public pressure caused the Braves to stop listening to offers for Freeman. Passan sees that as a mistake.

    http://sports.yahoo.com/news/trust-the-process–rebuilding-plan-is-what-s-best-for-atlanta-braves-230151408-mlb.html

  9. Bw52 says:

    Rotoworld says Cards purchased the contracts of Alemys Diaz INF, Dean Keikhefer LHP,and Charlie Tilson OF and added them to the 40-man roster

  10. Bw52 says:

    As long as Wisdom shows improvement i don`t care if he spends 2 years in triple A.If he improves enough to be a bench guy for the Cards that will be a help.Nothing wrong with a bench guy with some pop and decent glove who can give MCarp some rest..Wisdom will be passed in the organization by DeJong in a couple of years .Cards still next to look for 3B in the draft again.Drafted DeJong and another kid in top rounds.DeJong did okay but he is 2-3 years away.Other kid is very young and struggled in rookie ball.

    • JumboShrimp says:

      A memory tip. Long ago miss usa Phyllis George was born in Denton, Texas. In 2015, we bonused Bryce Denton $1.2mm. So if you can recall Phyllis, this clue can lead you to Denton.

      • Bw52 says:

        I remember her.She was the Wife of Governor John Y. Brown .JY Brown and his wife went on to be a very very rich big cheese in YUM brands foods which lead to the sad state of Kentucky Fried Chicken (which JY Brown bought from the late Colonel Harland Sanders during the late 60`s IIRC.John Y.Brown was also the owner of the Kentucky Colonels ABA team who sold his soul (rotten bastard) for a deal for another NBA team and therefore the KY Colonels got screwed out of joining the NBA.JY BRown will be damned to hell by many for screwing over the KY Colonels and turning Kentucky Fried Chicken to crap.

        • Brian Walton says:

          The things you can learn here!

          All I will add is that the actor they have playing the Colonel on the new commercials is about 30 years too young. Weak impression from a guy who remembers the real thing.

          • Bw52 says:

            Colonel Sanders visiited the Lighting Company where i worked in 1979 .I did not talk t him i was busy but the salespeople said he was a fine dignified Southern gentleman.He sat at table in the showroom and the sales people took good care of him.He died shortly after that.His wife had a fancy restaurant in Shelbyville for years after the Colonel passed .The place finally burned down several years ago.

            • JumboShrimp says:

              do you visit Buffalo Trace Distillery near Frankfurt?

              • Bw52 says:

                no i haven`t been there.

                • JumboShrimp says:

                  It’s a national historic landmark. Some old brick warehouses date back to the 1820s. They have tours. Seems like a friendly place, where they respect their business. In judicious moderation, Healthier than fried chicken.

                  • blingboy says:

                    I know that Blanton’s is made in Frankfort, don’t know if there is more than one distillery there. I am not a bourbon drinker, but I keep it on hand in case I decide to start.

                    • JumboShrimp says:

                      Oldest distillery in US. It has had a variety of names, through history. Beautiful place. Cool stuff in the gift shop. Buffalo Trace bourbon cream is a treat. They put out Pappy Van Winkle too, much sought after.

                    • blingboy says:

                      I had been sort of thinking about a summer excursion to include a stop at Johnson City. Frankfort would be right on the way. Or could be. I have a cousin in Waverly, Ky, wherever that is. I could introduce myself and get directions to Frankfort. Back in the 70s, some of the roads around there were little more than buffalo traces, so I see where they got the name. Back then, the Appy League team in W. Va. was on the other side of the mountains from the rest of them, and getting there could be adventuresome. They have actual roads now, though.

                    • JumboShrimp says:

                      Yes, Frankfurt is conveniently along the interstate headed east to Lexington, whence one keeps heading east, before taking a parkway toward eastern Kentucky that leads to SR23. Take this Country Music highway south, thru Pound Gap, keep heading south thru sw Virginia and arrive at the tri city region of Kingsport, Bristol, and Johnson City, Appalahian league towns. I know this path well.

                    • blingboy says:

                      The last time we made the trip, we took interstates the whole way. Went through knoxville. Efficient, but not very nostalgic.

                    • JumboShrimp says:

                      It is shorter and quicker thru the mountains, though cell reception will be poorer. The state roads are good

                    • blingboy says:

                      Ever since my wife saw Deliverance we take the interstate. It’s not a battle I can win.

                    • JumboShrimp says:

                      There is a cutoff 25 state road to pass north of Knoxville and shorten the distance to Johnson city. I go into the mountains for reunions with the Hatfields and McCoys.

                    • JumboShrimp says:

                      Pikeville is trying to monetize the hayfield and McCoy cued. I pulled over and tromped thru a graveyard. no albinos.

  11. Bw52 says:

    I have been to the old seagrams whiskey warehouses in louisville..I think these were built early 1900`s.Closed down in the 70`s.IIRC.Warehouses had the biggest damn rats i ever saw.

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