Tuesday, the Atlanta Braves signed 24-year-old All-Star first baseman Freddie Freeman to an eight-year contract worth a reported $135 million.
Freeman just finished his third full Major League season and had his best year yet, hitting 23 home runs, driving in 109 and batting .319 for the National League East champions.
He’s a fine player, but is he $135 million fine? That’s almost $17 million a season.
It really puts into perspective the bargain the Arizona Diamondbacks got when they signed their own first baseman, Paul Goldschmidt, to a five-year, $32 million extension last March.
Goldschmidt, 26, was coming off a good 2012 season — his first full year in the bigs. The Texas native hit 20 home runs, had 82 RBI and batted .286. D-backs general manager Kevin Towers had the foresight to see what he had in Goldschmidt, and rewarded him early.
The player then rewarded his general manager during the season. Goldschmidt led the National League in home runs (36) and RBI (125) while hitting .302 and winning both the Rawlings Gold Glove and Silver Slugger Awards. He represented the Diamondbacks in the 2013 MLB All-Star Game in New York and finished behind only Pittsburgh’s Andrew McCutchen in the National League MVP balloting.
He’ll make $1.1 million in 2014. That jumps to $3.1 million in 2015, $5.875 million in 2016, $8.875 million in 2017 and $11.1 million in 2018. There is a $14.5 million team option for 2019, when Goldschmidt will be in his age-31 season.
|Paul Goldschmidt, Diamondbacks||Freddie Freeman, Braves|
–Stats from 2013 MLB season