One of the more notable surprises from the pre-lockout free agency period was the fact that first baseman Freddie Freeman did not re-sign with the Atlanta Braves.

Freeman continually made clear over the past year that he aspires to stay put with the Braves. During the Braves’ 2021 World Series clash against the Houston Astros, Freeman noted that “everyone in this room knows I want to stay here.” He once again reiterated these sentiments following the Braves’ World Series triumph as he mentioned that “everyone” well recognizes that he prefers to remain in Atlanta.

Braves general manager Alex Anthopoulos echoed these same feelings, as he noted in November that the “goal is to sign him and keep him a Brave.”

In the end, no such deal was reached between Freeman and the Braves front office ahead of the lockout, which caught the attention of Hall of Fame third baseman Chipper Jones.

“I haven’t talked to Freddie in quite some time, but I’m sure he’s probably a little frustrated this wasn’t done in Spring Training last year,” Jones told 92.9 The Game’s Dukes & Bell show. “But the fact of the matter is we didn’t have any fans in the stands. We’ve got owners that didn’t know where revenue was going to be at the end of the year and maybe held out a little bit.

“The bottom line is, Freddie I believe before it’s all said and done will be playing where he wants to play. I know he’s a West Coast guy. I know he has a home here in Atlanta. But Freddie, if he wants to play for the Atlanta Braves, will be playing for the Atlanta Braves. I’ll leave it at that.”

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Freeman was linked with teams such as the New York Yankees before the start of the lockout. But in the big picture, Jones much aspires to see Freeman continue to build his legacy in Atlanta.

“The Braves have made some offers, didn’t make him happy,” Jones said. “He’s being courted by some of the prettiest girls on the block right now, he’s gonna listen to them. I hope that he thinks about his legacy here in Atlanta and they can come to some sort of an agreement to bring him back because I’d love nothing more than for his number to go right in there in between Dale Murphy and Bobby Cox.

“In between the 3 and the 6, a couple down from the number 10 because we’ve talked about it often and I think it would be a shame if it didn’t happen.”

Ahead of the lockout, Freeman had reportedly been seeking a six-year, $200 million deal from the Braves. This deal would have made him the highest-paid first baseman in MLB today with a $33.3 million average annual value.

Overall, Freeman is just coming off of a prolific 2021 campaign with the Braves, where he recorded a notable 31 home runs and an NL-leading 120 runs. He wound up finishing in the top 10 for the NL MVP award for the sixth time in his career. More so, he delivered when it mattered the most for the Braves over the course of their postseason run, which included two home runs and five RBI in the 2021 World Series.

Much attention sure will be on this dilemma between Freeman and the Braves once the lockout comes to an end.