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Rumor: The real reason why Braves failed to replace Freddie Freeman with Yankees’ Anthony Rizzo

Yankees, Braves, Dodgers, Matt Olson, Freddie Freeman, Anthony Rizzo

The Atlanta Braves had quite a hectic MLB free agency period, as they watched as first baseman Freddie Freeman signed with the Los Angeles Dodgers on a six-year deal.

Much has been talked about on where it went wrong in the contract discussions between the Braves and Freeman. Now, the New York Post’s Jon Heyman has shared details on just how the five-time All-Star ended up taking his talents to the Dodgers.

Heyman noted that after the MLB lockout on March 12, Excel Sports Management, Freeman’s agency, called the Braves and provided them with a “couple counteroffers.” Talks eventually broke down on this matter, and the Braves then began to look for an immediate replacement for him.

As the Braves were thinking that Freeman was “close to a deal elsewhere,” they attempted to “engage” with Anthony Rizzo the next day. There was not much discussion between the Braves and Rizzo on a possible free agent agreement, as the team was told that the veteran first baseman “wanted to wait until after Freeman came off the board” to then sign with a team.

That is when the Braves then turned their attention to now-former Oakland Athletics first baseman Matt Olson, and a trade was later completed.

Rizzo did not end up waiting for Freeman to put pen to paper on a free agent deal. Reports first surfaced on March 15 that Rizzo decided to re-sign with the New York Yankees, while Freeman reportedly reached an agreement with the Dodgers two days later.

Before the start of the lockout, the Braves reportedly looked for other first baseman options in the case that Freeman would elect to move to another team. The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal noted in December that the Braves “explored” the possibility of bringing in Rizzo.

Olson, Freeman, and Rizzo are all off to promising starts to the 2022 campaign. For one, Rizzo has slugged 21 home runs in 75 games played so far this year. On the other hand, Olson and Freeman each have had their fair share of standout moments in the season as well, and they could end up meeting in the postseason later this year.