Home Baseball Freddie Freeman Signs with Dodgers for $162 Million

Freddie Freeman Signs with Dodgers for $162 Million


PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. — Dansby Swanson gathered the ultimate floor ball of the World Sequence final November, then peeked to second base for a simple power that may have clinched the title for the Atlanta Braves. When his double play associate, Ozzie Albies, was gradual to interrupt for the bag, Swanson modified course and threw to first as a substitute. Freddie Freeman, ever reliable, was positive to be there.

“He means everything to this team,” Swanson mentioned later, within the afterglow of the workforce’s first championship in 26 seasons. “He’s been through good times, he’s been through the worst of times and now through the best of times. Nobody deserves it on our team more than him.”

It was exhausting to think about, on that evening of triumph in Houston, that Freeman wouldn’t return to Atlanta. A second-round decide of Atlanta within the 2007 draft, he had capped his fifteenth skilled season with a World Sequence victory, a 12 months after he received his first Most Priceless Participant Award. Free company could be a formality, proper?

“Hey, I love him,” Terry McGuirk, Atlanta’s chairman, mentioned with fun on the sector after the final out of Recreation 6. “We’re not going to talk about that tonight.”

The Braves by no means did say the magic phrases to Freeman: Six years and $162 million, the deal Freeman has reached with the Los Angeles Dodgers. Dave Roberts, the Dodgers’ supervisor, instructed reporters in Glendale, Ariz., that Freeman was taking a bodily examination on Thursday and could be in uniform on Friday.

Roberts, 49, mentioned the Dodgers’ lineup was as robust as any he had seen. It might function Freeman, Max Muncy, Trea Turner and Justin Turner within the infield; Chris Taylor, Cody Bellinger and Mookie Betts within the outfield; Will Smith at catcher; and A.J. Pollock because the designated hitter. Freeman, Betts and Bellinger have every received an M.V.P. award, just like the left-handed starter Clayton Kershaw, who returns for his fifteenth season.

Superteams don’t at all times win. The Dodgers have been simply as imposing late final summer season, once they had the three-time Cy Younger Award winner Max Scherzer of their rotation and Corey Seager at shortstop. Pierced by harm, they fell within the N.L. Championship Sequence to Atlanta, which received all of it regardless of accidents to outfielder Ronald Acuña Jr. and the right-handed starter Mike Soroka.

Atlanta’s victory was a testomony, partly, to the resourcefulness of Basic Supervisor Alex Anthopoulos, who jolted a depleted roster with a sequence of trades in July. This week, Anthopoulos swiftly pulled off one other backup plan, buying and selling with Oakland for an All-Star first baseman, Matt Olson, and signing him to an eight-year, $168 million contract.

The Braves have additionally signed the right-handed pitcher Collin McHugh (two years, $10 million) and re-signed outfielder Eddie Rosario (two years, $18 million) since shifting on from Freeman.

“The thing Alex does really, really well — and you saw it last year — is regroup and fortify,” mentioned Ruben Amaro Jr., the previous Philadelphia Phillies normal supervisor, by cellphone on Thursday. “He does it in a way where he can spread out the money and get what he needs to get and still have the flexibility to improve when he has to.”

Atlanta and its followers are studying how difficult it’s to construct off a championship. That was Amaro’s activity in 2008, when the Phillies promoted him to interchange Basic Supervisor Pat Gillick, who retired after a World Sequence title.

Amaro’s first transfer was to inform Pat Burrell he was gone. Burrell, like Freeman, was a homegrown slugger who had simply turned 32 years previous. The Phillies discovered a greater possibility in free company, Raúl Ibañez, and returned to the World Sequence.

However the comparability solely goes to date, as a result of the Phillies’ most impactful gamers have been first baseman Ryan Howard, second baseman Chase Utley, shortstop Jimmy Rollins and the left-handed starter Cole Hamels.

All 4 would get new contracts within the years after the World Sequence, a reward for his or her contributions and a present to followers desirous to see extra of their favourite stars. However the roster ultimately decayed, and the Phillies haven’t reached the playoffs since 2011, the longest drought within the Nationwide League. They stored the band collectively however stopped making hits.

“There’s always some concern about hanging onto guys a little bit too long,” Amaro mentioned. “One of the things we really wanted to do when I was brought into the front office by Ed Wade was to get good and stay good, and do it with our own core players, which we did. Then it becomes: Where do you draw the line and start to revamp and reboot your club, and how do you do that?

“That’s a very, very tenuous thing. In our case, we had Howard, Utley and Rollins, who were basically the best players at their positions in Phillies history. That’s a very difficult tightrope to walk.”

Freeman is hardly the primary marquee fan favourite to signal elsewhere simply after successful a championship. Since 2004, it has occurred with Pedro Martinez (Boston to the Mets), Albert Pujols (St. Louis to the Angels), Pablo Sandoval (San Francisco to Boston) and Anthony Rendon (Washington to the Angels). In every case, the workforce that misplaced the participant made the sensible resolution.

The Braves, owned by the publicly traded Liberty Media, haven’t had a high 10 payroll since 2006. With Olson, who turns 28 this month, they now have three mainstays beneath long-term management: Acuña, 24, is signed for eight years and $100 million, with membership choices via 2028; Albies, 25, is signed for seven years and $35 million, with choices via 2027.

Freeman is on a Corridor of Fame observe with a profession that intently parallels that of the switch-hitting first baseman Eddie Murray, proper all the way down to his departure for the Dodgers at age 32. Murray — who left the Orioles through commerce, not free company — remained a productive first baseman, however his Baltimore years have been his finest.

Each participant is completely different, after all, and maybe Freeman may need flourished in Atlanta for his total profession, like Chipper Jones, who hit .309 with a .404 on-base proportion and a .541 slugging proportion earlier than his age-32 season and .296/.397/.513 thereafter.

However which is the higher possibility: Olson via age 35 at $21 million per season (minus the prospects despatched to Oakland) or Freeman via age 37 at $27 million per season?

Olson, an Atlanta native, has two Gold Gloves and hit 39 homers final season, yet another than Freeman’s profession excessive. He is perhaps a greater participant than Freeman proper now; if he isn’t, he’s shut, and he’s a safer wager over time.

The Braves may need gotten extra years of greatness from Freeman. As a substitute they did the exhausting factor: They stop whereas they have been forward. It was pragmatic, not romantic, the type of resolution that ought to maintain them contending for a very long time.

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