The latest rumblings regarding Freddie Freeman's free agency suggest that there's a growing belief the former MVP won't re-sign with the Atlanta Braves. Having failed to lock down a deal prior to the MLB lockout, it seems the Braves face a real chance at having to fend off competition for their franchise legend. ESPN's Buster Olney indicated that Freeman will likely sign quickly when the lockout comes to an end, but he may not be back in Atlanta.

Reports indicate that the Braves may look to move past the situation altogether by looking to bring in a replacement via trade or free agency. If they don't retain their star first baseman, alternative options could include Oakland A's star Matt Olson or free-agent slugger Anthony Rizzo.

The Braves have reportedly offered Freeman a five-year, $135 million deal, but the 32-year-old is said to be demanding a sixth year in his contract. It's unclear why the Braves are seemingly unwilling to meet his demands, but if they don't, a bidding war is almost sure to ensue.

3 best destinations for Freddie Freeman in MLB free agency

3. Toronto Blue Jays

Reports claim that Freeman and the Blue Jays held talks before the MLB lockout. While Freeman is a bit older than Toronto's young core, his playoff experience and leadership could prove invaluable to a team that is still growing. The Blue Jays have the potential to be a dominant team for many years with the amount of young talent on the roster, and Freeman could help the compete immediately, while also helping the younger guys develop.

A core consisting of Freeman, Vlad Guerrero Jr., Bo Bichette, and George Springer would be dynamic and would instantly launch the Blue Jays into the World Series discussion. While Guerrero occupies the first base position, Freeman is a superior defender who could take over the role while Guerrero shifts to DH. For a team that clearly has its sights set on winning a World Series in the near future, Freeman could be the piece Toronto needs to reach the next level.

2. New York Yankees

Freeman would be a picture-perfect fit for the Yankees. One of the major needs the Yankees had on offense in 2021 was the lack of left-handed power hitters. The acquisitions of Rizzo and Joey Gallo helped in that regard, but ultimately the team will once again need to address that area of need with Rizzo hitting free agency. If the Yankees are willing to open up the wallets, Freeman could be a huge addition to a team that has been seeking for its first ring since 2009, a massive drought in terms of Yankees' championships.

While the addition of Freeman could create questions as to the future of Luke Voit, the Yankees would probably not hesitate to replace him with the left-handed former MVP. Pairing Freeman with fellow left-handed slugger Gallo could make for a dangerous punch in the heart of the lineup.

1. Atlanta Braves

When it comes down to it, the best fit for Freeman is the place he's spent his entire MLB career. It's honestly shocking that the Braves have even allowed this situation to develop this far, though it's largely due to the lockout. Still, even enabling these discussions to be a possibility is a colossal failure on the part of the Braves, who should be doing whatever it takes to ensure Freeman, one of the franchise's greatest players ever, is a Brave for life.

Freeman still has plenty of years of strong production left, as evidenced by his 31-home run campaign in 2021. He hit .300 on the nose last year and has one season batting below that mark in the past six years (.295 in 2019). A fan-favorite and a World Series winner for the club, Freeman's place in Braves lore is already cemented, but letting him walk right after winning a ring would be a confusing and disappointing move from the organization. This is a team that has the talent to win another World Series, especially with Ronald Acuña getting healthy, so moving on from Freeman feels like it'd be a mistake.