The Braves will tender the $18.4 million qualifying offer to pending free agent first baseman Freddie Freeman, GM Alex Anthopoulos told media members Sunday:
#Braves GM Alex Anthopoulos on Freddie Freeman, whom he said will get a qualifying offer today as a procedural move: "We love him. He's great. We want him to stay. He wants to stay...Our goal is to sign him and keep him a Brave. That's probably all I can say at this point."— David O'Brien (@DOBrienATL) November 7, 2021
The qualifying offer gives Freeman an opportunity to stay in Atlanta on a one-year, $18.4 million deal, though he’ll almost certainly reject it and become a free agent. While Freeman could very well re-sign with Atlanta on a longer, more lucrative deal, the qualifying offer gives the Braves the opportunity to receive compensation if he signs elsewhere.
While Ronald Acuña Jr. has surpassed Freeman as Atlanta’s most productive position player, Freeman has been the most iconic Braves player of this generation, posting 43.1 bWAR, which ranks 12th in franchise history. He’s posted a .295/.384/.509 slash line over 12 seasons and has been around through the franchise’s highs and lows, from the end of their dominance in the 2000s, through a semi-rebuild in the mid-2010s, then into their run of success in the late 2010s and early 2020s, including their World Series championship this year.
While there’s a trio of highly-regarded first baseman on the market this winter, with Anthony Rizzo and Brandon Belt joining Freeman. But the 32-year-old Freeman figures to be the biggest earner of the three.