We were among former GM Frank Wren’s biggest critics, savaging him for unproductive drafts and bad contracts given to the likes of B.J. Upton and Dan Uggla. But Wren deserves credit for what turned out to be a franchise-altering decision.
In February 2014, Wren chose Freddie Freeman over Jason Heyward as the face of the franchise, inking the young first baseman to an eight-year, $135 million contract — the largest in franchise history. Less than two years later, Jay Hey signed an eight-year deal with the Cubs for $50 million more than Freddie received.
Imagine where the Braves would be had that decision been reversed?
Instead, they have arguably the best hitter in baseball locked up through 2021 at a reasonable price. On June 13, 2016, Freddie was hitting .242 with 9 HR. He’s hit 39 homers since then with a .341 BA, .444 OBP and .690 slugging percentage. Currently he’s first in the NL in HR, second in total bases and OBP, third in slugging percentage and sixth in batting average.
He knows no slumps.