Braves was known as Anthony Rizzo for the last month


The Braves “explored” the possibility of hiring a free agent first baseman Anthony Rizzo in November, according to Ken Rosenthal from The Athletic. This could possibly only have been a standard off-season procedure on the part of the Braves, since, as Rosenthal notes, of course, the club should have backup plans in mind Freddie Freeman sign elsewhere.

With that in mind, Atlanta was too with the Matt Olson Trading market, as Olson (who is expected to be $ 12m on his second trip through arbitration) is likely to suggest that the Braves may have considered other first-base options besides Rizzo and Olson while heading out on a world after Freeman prepare, although Rosenthal notes that “most of the industry still expects Freeman to stay with the Braves”.

Still, at least one rival manager is surprised that Freeman is still available, describing it as “hit in the face“To Freeman that the Braves haven’t yet drawn up a new deal with the long-standing face of the franchise. Recent reports suggested the Braves were reluctant to give Freeman a sixth guaranteed year, and Freeman wanted something closer to a $ 200 million deal – or at least maybe closer to $ 200 million than the $ 135 million -Deal (over five years) offered by Atlanta sometime during negotiations between the two sides.

Rizzo makes an interesting first basic alternative, as Rizzo is available for much less than Freeman’s asking price and can be signed for only money, while Atlanta would certainly have to send a whole package of young talent to Oakland to work a trade. MLBTR predicted Rizzo for a three-year deal worth $ 45 million while placing the 32-year-old at number 21 on our list of the 50 best free agents of the off-season.

The obvious reason for this lower price, of course, is that while Freeman and Olson still produce at an all-star level, Rizzo’s racket has been more modestly productive since the start of the 2020 season (109 wRC +). In his last 819 record appearances, Rizzo has hit .240 / .343 / .432 with 33 home runs for the Cubs and Yankees. Rizzo’s hard-contact numbers have also plummeted, while his hearing rate of 9% from 2021 was its lowest over an entire season. His first basic glove job also saw a big drop in the eyes of the UZR / 150 and Defensive Runs Saved metrics, although the Outs Above Average metric gave him a +6 (his best OAA result since 2017).

The universal DH would help dispel any concerns about Rizzo’s defense, and his left-handed bat would, to some extent, replace Freeman in a strong right-handed Braves lineup. Rizzo is also still one of the better contact bats in the league, which would help an Atlanta reduce the dodge rate of a team that ranks 22nd out of 30 clubs in 2021.


Comments are closed.