After helping the Atlanta Braves win the World Series, Freddie Freeman became a free agent for the first time in his 12-year MLB career. While it was widely expected the sides would quickly work out a new contract, that never came to fruition due to a reported disagreement over the inclusion of a sixth year.
The Braves decided to go in a different direction by trading for All-Star first baseman Matt Olson from the Oakland Athletics. That opened the door for the Los Angeles Dodgers, who signed Freeman to a six-year, $162 million contract.
Freeman embraced getting to play for his hometown team but his heart very much remained tied to the Braves organization. That became apparent when Freeman visited Truist Park for the first time as a visiting player.
After an emotional weekend in Atlanta, Freeman finally found closure from the Braves after sending a group text to his Dodgers teammates, per Fabian Ardaya of The Athletic:
Eventually, Freeman found a conclusion. The text message pinged through the Dodgers’ players group chat in the wee hours.
Thank you for bearing with me, it read.
Freeman remembered that text message feeling like a giant weight was lifted off his shoulders after opening up to teammates:
“That’s when the boulder came off,” Freeman recalled months later.
While moving on from the Braves proved to be difficult, Freeman still enjoyed an MVP-caliber season in his first year with the Dodgers. He batted a stellar .325/.407/.511 with 47 doubles, 21 home runs and 100 RBI en route to a sixth All-Star Game appearance.
Freeman led the Majors with 199 hits and in doubles, while his on-base percentage and runs scored (117) were tops in the NL. He also ranked second in the league in batting average, on-base plus slugging (.918), wOBA (.393) and wRC+ (157).
Freddie Freeman helped recruit Jason Heyward
While the Dodgers did not sign Dansby Swanson this offseason, they did reunite Freeman with a former teammate by adding Jason Heyward on a Minor League contract. Freeman believes Heyward will benefit from revamping his swing and admitted to playing a part in the Dodgers signing the veteran outfielder.
“When I talked to Jason in the last couple months of the season, I went straight to Andrew Friedman and Brandon Gomes, and was like, ‘Hey guys, it’s a perfect fit. He’s a wonderful human, there’s a lot left in there.’ I stayed on them for a little bit,” Freeman said.
“As the offseason went on, I talked to Jason pretty much every day, and things just kind of fell into place. I got my friend back and I’ve just been telling him how wonderful the Dodgers have been for me. He’s really excited.”
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