An Atlanta Braves institution is on the move. At least he got a ring on the way out.
Longtime Braves first baseman Freddie Freeman has agreed to a six-year, $162 million deal with the Los Angeles Dodgers on Wednesday night, according to ESPN's Kiley McDaniel and Jeff Passan.
BREAKING: Freddie Freeman has agreed to terms with the Dodgers on a six-year, $162 million deal according to @JeffPassan and me.
— Kiley McDaniel (@kileymcd) March 17, 2022
The deal will end a 12-year tenure in Atlanta for Freeman, who capped his time there by winning the franchise's first World Series title since 1995. During his time in Atlanta, the 32-year-old Freeman also earned five All-Star nods, three Silver Sluggers, a Gold Glove and the 2020 NL MVP award.
In 2021, Freeman finished the regular season with a .300/.393/.503 slash line, 31 home runs, eight stolen bases and a league-best 120 runs, then hit .304/.420/.625 with five homers in the postseason.
While aging first basemen don't typically see strong interest in free agency, Freeman's consistency at the plate was enough to convince some of baseball's biggest spenders to kick the tires. The Braves obviously looked into keeping Freeman, but ended up trading for Oakland Athletics first baseman Matt Olson and signing him to an eight-year, $168 million extension instead.
The addition of the universal DH in MLB's new collective bargaining agreement may have opened more doors for Freeman. A first baseman seeking a long-term deal, he will have more ways to get in the lineup as he ages now than he would have prior to the lockout.
Freddie Freeman says goodbye to Atlanta
Hours before news of the signing broke, Freeman posted a heartfelt message to Braves fans.
Dodgers’ eventful offseason continues with Freddie Freeman signing
When the MLB lockout hit, it looked like the Dodgers were on their back foot.
In the span of a few days, the team lost longtime starting shortstop Corey Seager to the Texas Rangers on an enormous 10-year, $325 million deal and midseason trade acquisition Max Scherzer to the New York Mets on a record three-year, $130 million deal. The team wasn’t exactly hurtling toward the NL West cellar (it did manage to re-sign the always underrated Chris Taylor), but it entered hiatus clearly needing to make some moves.
Those moves have now been made. It didn’t take long for the team to re-sign Clayton Kershaw on a one-year, $17 million deal, and now it has signed Freeman to the largest free agent contract in Dodgers history.
With Freeman, the Dodgers will be adding a major weapon to an infield that was already looking pretty good, even without Seager. The team will simply move Trea Turner, acquired last year in the Scherzer trade, back to his usual shortstop position and keep veteran Justin Turner at third. On the right side of the infield, Taylor, Max Muncy and Gavin Lux are all options at second base, while Freeman will probably see the vast majority of time at first base.
Thanks to the magic of the new universal designated hitter, the team can also rotate around pretty much any of the above names. Oh, and it has top 100 prospects Miguel Vargas, a corner infielder, and Michael Busch, a second baseman, waiting in the wings after playing the majority of their games in Double-A last season.
The Dodgers are going to be fine.