With news circulating that Atlanta Braves star first baseman Freddie Freeman will move to third base when he returns from the disabled list, Brandon Phillips weighed in on the decision, with Gabriel Burns of Atlanta Journal-Constitution curating the entire clubhouse’s comments.
Following Freeman’s placement on the disabled list due to a fractured wrist on May 18, the Braves acted quickly, acquiring Adams just days later to fill in as interim first baseman. Of course, the 28-year-old’s excellent play seems to have forced Braves management to at least entertain the thought of Freeman shifting to third.
“Having (Freeman) and Adams in the lineup together, that’d be epic honestly,” Phillips said. Despite the second baseman’s positivity on the matter, Phillips does concede “that’s really up to Freddie.”
“I’m sure he’s up for it, up for a challenge,” Nick Markakis told Burns. The outfielder discussed his superstar teammate’s abilities, suggesting that Freeman is “enough of an athlete to be able to make that adjustment pretty quickly.”
Prior to his spell on the sidelines, Freeman – who has never played third base at the major-league level – was on what appeared to be an MVP pace, slashing .341/.461/.748 with a 203 wRC+ and 2.6 WAR.
As the member of the lineup that would see his time cut into the most by Freeman’s activation from the disabled list, Adams was also receptive. “Yeah, absolutely (it’s a compliment), but I’m not the type of guy to sit here and dwell on that because it’s out of my hands.”
The Braves have had the third-worst production from third basemen all season long by FanGraphs’ WAR.
Though the team is currently 10 games back of the first-place Washington Nationals, it is tied for second in the division, six games under .500.
While Freeman is still a month away from returning and there are many things that can change in the meantime, it appears the Braves are prepared to try to address their weaknesses.