Dear Atlanta Braves: Freddie Freeman wants to stay. Make it happen.

Atlanta Braves first baseman Freddie Freeman hugs third baseman Pablo Sandovalk. Mandatory Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports
Atlanta Braves first baseman Freddie Freeman hugs third baseman Pablo Sandovalk. Mandatory Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports /

In a quite candid interview with Atlanta Braves All-Star Freddie Freeman on Friday, Dave O’Brien got to the heart of the matter.

He poked.  He prodded.  He probed.  In the end, Braves beat writer O’Brien got Freddie Freeman to talk about his feelings — and his feelings about the Atlanta Braves.

This is an interview posted right now on the subscription site TheAthletic.  While we can’t quote large section of this — the interview is so good, I’d really like to — we’ll hit some of the best highlights.

First off, there’s the bit about his demeanor this year… that Freeman doesn’t appear to be as “happy” as in previous seasons (certainly as compared to 2020).  On that subject and the season in general…

"It’s definitely been one of the strangest [years]. But I feel like I’ve hit the ball well all year, so it’s been more of a frustrating-for-the-results kind of year. I feel like the prep and everything I do in the game and hitting the ball hard, there’s nothing different. It’s just the results … Obviously, I’ve gotten the results over the last month or so, so that’s definitely helped, the frustration level has calmed down. But it was definitely different. It was weird. It was testing my patience big time."

He went on at length to talk about the “grind” and that he was feeling better about his performance now that he appears to be getting better results.  There have been times when he was questioning his approach, but he always came back to the thought that he was still hitting the ball hard.

About the team…

"Q:  Have you guys been able to maintain the same close-knit clubhouse this year, with everything that you guys have gone through?A:  We are as close as all the other (recent Braves) teams, if not closer. We really are. We’ve got so many (leaders and contributors). You’ve got Josh Tomlin and Will Smith in the bullpen — they’ve got that locked down. You’ve got Charlie Morton and Max Fried, you’ve got Ian Anderson — they’re all locked in. … And then we combine — we’re sitting on the plane, and we’ve got our awesome plane back, where we can play cards and stuff. So things are going well again for us."

Ordinarily, I’d have to cynically wonder if that would be the answer regardless of how things were actually going with clubhouse chemistry and such.  However, as this is coming from Freeman and knowing how open he generally is about all topics, it’s quite reasonable to take this at face value.

One topic not asked about by O’Brien was whether the incident with Marcell Ozuna had created any kinds of rifts among the team.  This answer would seem to put that aside, though it might have been a reasonable follow-up question to ask regardless.

About his home…

"Q:  You know how rumors get started and spread — like, someone said on social media that you recently sold your house in Atlanta.A:  I have not sold my house. (Laughs.) I have multiple houses that I rent out to other people. I haven’t sold anything. Just because I have a house in California, where I grew up, doesn’t mean that I don’t want to be in Atlanta."

That was part of a “do you really want to stay in Atlanta?” sequence of questions.  The answer — in multiple different ways — was summed up here:

"Well, obviously. This is 15 years I’ve been with this organization. I don’t know anything else."

The Freemans live in Atlanta and they live in California.  They live in California in the off-season because that’s where he grew up and that’s where his in-laws live.

It isn’t that he wants to go play for the Angels (yes, O’Brien brought that up as a joke!).  It’s simply a means of being near family in the off-season and having a place to live that has the climate so that his kids will be able to get outside and play throughout the Winter months.

Freeman went on to express his appreciation for the opportunity the Atlanta Braves organization gave him to get to the majors at 20 years old and the further opportunity of a big contract deal at 23.  “This place is special”.

He really wants a new deal in Atlanta.  That much is certain.  If you aren’t quite feeling that from the quotes posted, then check out the full article in TheAthletic.  O’Brien did a great job here.

Next. So... Kris Bryant? Really?. dark

Liberty Media… Terry McGuirk… Alex Anthopoulos…  Folks:  put your heads together and figure out how to make this happen.  You cannot replace a treasure like Freddie Freeman.  Not as a player.  Not as a teammate.  Not as a man.  Get ‘r done.