Latest Freddie Freeman rumor is very bad news for the Padres

Nov 5, 2021; Atlanta, GA, USA; Atlanta Braves first baseman Freddie Freeman waves to the crowd during the World Series championship rally at Truist Park. Mandatory Credit: Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports
Nov 5, 2021; Atlanta, GA, USA; Atlanta Braves first baseman Freddie Freeman waves to the crowd during the World Series championship rally at Truist Park. Mandatory Credit: Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports /
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Freddie Freeman in the NL West? Please, Lord, no.

Facing him on the Los Angeles Dodgers 19 times every regular season plus in postseason games sounds like a nightmare. And unless the New York Yankees or some dark horse team pull off a miracle, it looks like that nightmare will be the San Diego Padres’ new reality.

On Monday afternoon, Jeff Passan dropped the bomb that the Oakland A’s are trading their longtime first baseman, Matt Olson, to the Atlanta Braves, effectively as a replacement for Freeman.

At the outset, it looks like a savvy, yet savage move by Atlanta, who gain a younger defensive and offensive powerhouse and save hundreds of millions by not paying Freeman. How savage, exactly? It sounds like Freeman found out the news like the rest of us:

Olson to the Braves makes a lot of sense, but so did paying Freeman, who has been one of the faces of the franchise for years. The former is an Atlanta, Georgia native, a few years younger, and had back-to-back Gold Glove seasons before the pandemic began in 2020. Olson is coming off his first All-Star season, in which he hit .271/.371/.540 with a .911 OPS, 35 doubles and 39 home runs. He scored 101 times and drove in 111 runs. His 16.8% strikeout rate was particularly impressive, the lowest of any season of his career if you exclude his 11-game debut in 2016, which you should.

Freeman is 32 and has already won three Silver Sluggers, a Gold Glove, 2020 NL MVP, and is a defending World Series champion. He’s been a stellar hitter for over a decade and led the NL in hits in 2021. His career numbers against the rest of the NL West are ironclad:

Arizona Diamondbacks (60 games): .349/.407/.639, 1.046 OPS
Colorado Rockies (65 games): .276/.388/.552, .940 OPS
San Diego Padres (63 games): .306/.399/.542, .940 OPS
San Francisco Giants (57 games): .261/.301/.446, .747 OPS

The speculation that Freeman is headed to Los Angeles only compounds the bad news Padres fans received earlier on Monday when it was reported that their own superstar, Fernando Tatis Jr., has a fractured wrist and will be sidelined for approximately three months. Without him, the Padres are working with significantly decreased bat power, while the Dodgers seem set to upgrade their already-formidable lineup.

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