Contemplating Freddie Freeman

This is probably only the second time–the Blackfan tweet was the first– I’ve said this, but…thank you, Jon Heyman.

This tweet gives us something to talk about during what feels like a low point in the owner-imposed lockout of MLB players. It seems like everyone loves Freddie Freeman as a player and a person and the thought of him in pinstripes should excite any of us.

Freeman, the 2020 MVP winner–and top-10 finisher every year since 2018– sports low strikeout rates and good walk rates and has been consistent in all of those things for the last few years. He also plays solid defense (82nd percentile for OAA in 2021) at first and, as a lefty hitter with power, would be a welcome addition to the Yankees’ offense.

It’s worth noting that Freeman will be 33 in September and conventional wisdom tells us that this isn’t great for a guy who’s already ‘just’ a first baseman. If the Yankees really are going to keep intentionally losing a game of chicken with the luxury tax threshold, it’s probably not best to pour money into that position with a player that ‘old.’ Signing a shortstop would probably be the best use of that money, but the Yankees appear hesitant to do that. In that case, just sign someone elite. At this point, Freeman is elite and his profile seems like it’ll age well. Famous last words? Maybe. I don’t expect the Yankees to sign Freeman, but it’s a nice thought.

With that in mind, let’s go back to our friend the Lineup Analysis Tool that I used in this post and swap out Freeman in place of ‘incumbent’ Luke Voit. For the record, ZiPS projects Freeman for a .386 OBP and .512 SLG. And instead of using Gleyber Torres at short, I’ll use a .314/.409 OBP/SLG split, the league average for shortstops in 2021.

A lineup consisting of Freeman, DJ LeMahieu, Aaron Judge, Joey Gallo, Giancarlo Stanton, Gio Urshela, Aaron Hicks, Gary Sanchez, and a generic shortstop would yield 5.339 runs per game, 865 or so over 162 (which we definitely won’t get this year). The best lineup would be:

  1. Freeman
  2. Judge
  3. Urshela
  4. Gallo
  5. Stanton
  6. Shortstop
  7. Hicks
  8. Sanchez
  9. LeMahieu

The lineup I think that would actually get put down is:

  1. DJLM
  2. Freeman
  3. Judge
  4. Stanton
  5. Gallo
  6. Urshela
  7. Hicks
  8. Sanchez
  9. SS

Anyway, like I said, I don’t think Freeman leaves Atlanta unless there’s something seriously amiss. But, given the real cold outside and the figurative cold of the hot stove and lockout, this little rumor is something nice and warm to think about.

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4 Comments

  1. Anthony Rizzeddardo

    Ownership has contemplated and decided to sign Jay Bruce for the veteran minimum, Matt. They just put this stuff out there to make it seem like they’re going to do something. It’s just throwing red meat to the dogs and you bought it hook line and sinker. This is the same FO that traded Adam Ottavino to the rival Sox to clear cap space. They won’t spend a dime on Freeman let alone out spending the Braves. They may re-sign Rizzo but more than likely they’ll just say that they have all confidence in Luke Voit and at SS they’ll sign Pete Kozma.

  2. Troy

    That lineup analysis tool looks pretty bad. Urshela batting 3rd? I think the ideal line up has him batting 10th. Right after the non-existent Mr. Shortstop who was batting 3rd.

    Freeman would be nice to have, but the Yankees need a SS, 3B and CF, roughly in that order. 1B is really far down the list and giving him a long term contract when they will already not play Stanton in the field creates a problem. Not to mention resigning Judge to a long term deal may require DH and/or 1B time in the future.

  3. The Original Drew

    It would certainly be a win now move which the Yankees don’t do enough of. Even though they have the financial capabilities to resign Judge, how many long term contracts is Hal willing to give out?

    He should be able to give out as many as needed, but will he actually do so since the bottom line is clearly more important to him than actually winning a championship.

    And if that’s the case then spending the money on a 32 year old 1B rather than Judge wouldn’t be wise. If you’re gonna make a move at 1B they trade for Olson, but then it’s would you rather give up prospects for a 1B when all it would take is money? It’s a difficult crossroad the team is at currently, and with the window of this core closing, they need to make the right moves to end the second longest World Series drought in franchise history.

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