MLB Rumors: Atlanta Braves Could Replace Freddie Freeman With Anthony Rizzo

Ernesto Cova

The Atlanta Braves shocked Major League Baseball and the sports world by winning the World Series against all odds.

The team seemed doomed to not even making the playoffs. They didn't have their two best hitters in Marcell Ozuna and Ronald Acuña Jr., and they were far from competitive during the first half of the season.

Then, their rotation got it together, their bats got hot, and they managed to shut down the Houston Astros at baseball's ultimate stage. Just like something out of a movie.

Freeman Is Still Unsigned And Drawing Interest

But the honeymoon is over for the reigning World Series champions.

Now, they have to focus on bringing Freddie Freeman back. And even though it seemed like a sure thing before the start of free agency, now the picture isn't as clear.

According to MLB Trade Rumors, Freeman and the Braves are nowhere near an agreement on a new contract, and that's terrible news given the market for the star first baseman:

"The most recent reports suggested that the Braves were hesitant about giving Freeman a sixth guaranteed year, and Freeman wanted something closer to a $200MM deal — or at least, perhaps closer to $200MM than the $135MM (over five years) deal that Atlanta offered at some point during negotiations between the two sides," read the report.

Braves Could Target Anthony Rizzo

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Moreover, the Braves may not be as confident as bringing Freeman back as they were several months ago, which is why they're reportedly exploring their options.

And, according to Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic, they could target Anthony Rizzo if he doesn't re-sign with the New York Yankees or go back to the Chicago Cubs:

"The Braves explored first-base alternatives such as Olson and free agent Anthony Rizzo in November while Freeman lingered on the open market; Freeman, at the moment, is not a member of their team," Rosenthal wrote.

Braves Also Want Matt Olson

As you can tell by Rosenthal's report, the Braves have also been tied to Oakland's Matt Olson recently.

Olson is expected to earn around $12 million after going through arbitration and the Athletics are reportedly looking to cut back expenses as per usual. While not as good as a defender as Freeman is, he's an offensive upgrade over him.

So, even though most people still think that Freeman and the Braves will eventually work things out, they still have a couple of strong options to fill the void in the worst-case scenario.

What About Marcell Ozuna?

Even so, it seems like the Braves' biggest priority for this offseason should be to address Marcell Ozuna's situation.

By no means they should allow him to come back after the footage of him choking and beating his wife surfaced.

The league handed him a retroactive 20-game suspension and parting ways with him would be tough from a baseball standpoint, but they would be sending a terrible message if they didn't take action against their slugger. He can't play for them again.