The Atlanta Braves continued a major overhaul last week when they traded shortstop Andrelton Simmons to the Angels for shortstop Erick Aybar and pitching prospects Sean Newcomb and Chris Ellis. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution called the trade "another gut punch for Braves fans," who were still reeling from last season's big-name trades of Jason Heyward, Justin Upton, and Craig Kimbrel.
Simmons, who won the Wilson Defensive Player of the Year Award on Wednesday, was one of two remaining fan favorites, alongside first baseman Freddie Freeman. Freeman hit .276/.370/.471 with 18 home runs in 481 plate appearances in the 2015 season, and he has hit .285/.366/.466 over the course of his career.
But not even Freeman is safe from trade talks, as the Braves are reportedly shopping "everyone owed money." FOX Sports' Ken Rosenthal has had three teams tell him the Braves have shopped Freeman. For his part, Braves' general manager John Coppolella denied the rumors, saying the team hadn't had any trade discussions involving Freeman.
Trading Freeman could be a bigger gamble for the Braves off the field than trading Simmons was, as they risk alienating their fan base as they prepare to move into their new ballpark in 2017.
If the Braves were to trade Freeman, they would likely look even weaker in 2016 than they already do, which would be good news for the Mets as they attempt to get back to the playoffs. The teams play each other nineteen times in the 2016 season.