The post-Freddie 2017 slog has begun.
Glance at these nuggets to get a sense of how much No. 5 means to this team:
- Freddie leads the club in runs, hits, homers, RBI, total bases, slugging percentage, and OPS.
- He is tied for the lead in triples (with one).
- He is third in steals!
- Even more shocking, perhaps, Freddie accounts for 74 percent of the club’s cumulative WAR. So, by that standard, he represents three quarters of the worth of this year’s club. That is stupendous, and must make Freddie the closest thing in MLB to a one-man team. I don’t have the time nor inclination to spend an hour researching whether his share of team WAR is the most of any player. I’d be shocked if it isn’t.
- Freddie’s WAR of 2.5 is nearly four times that of any other Brave. Flowers and Markakis are next at 0.7.
Ah, well. If Freeman were playing this weekend’s series v the Nats would be an interesting test of whether a resurgent Bravos squad could hang with what is today probably the best team in the National League. The Braves might still hang with the Nats, but it’s a lot less likely.
As painful as these three months figure to be, the front office should resist any temptation to rush Freddie back and thus risk further injury. Even with Freeman, this club was a long, long shot to contend for a wild card spot. Without him, there isn’t a chance in hell we finish .500. So there is no reason to try to get him back sooner if that would chance long-term damage.
Like it or not, in a week or so the James Loney era — or few weeks — may begin in Cobb County. Or if he hits .175 in Buford, maybe it won’t. Apparently Rico Brogna, Julio Franco, and Wally Joyner were all busy. We know Ken Caminiti is unavailable.
Seriously, I wouldn’t doubt Julio, now 58, is playing ball somewhere in Central or South America. The Jesus Juice was pretty effective. Did you realize Julio had 2,586 big league hits? Just behind him on the all-time list: Reggie Jackson, Ernie Banks, Richie Ashburn, Manny Ramirez, and Willie Davis. Todd Helton, Joe Morgan, Crime Dog and Frank Thomas are a little further behind.