GLENDALE, Ariz. -- The Dodgers signed five-time All-Star first baseman Freddie Freeman to a blockbuster six-year deal on Friday. Terms were not announced, but it's for $162 million, a source told MLB.com.
For most of the offseason, Freeman, 32, appeared to be headed for a reunion with the Braves. The 2020 National League Most Valuable Player has been with Atlanta his entire career, helping them win a World Series last season. But when it became clear the contract negotiations with the Braves were not going as planned, the Dodgers began to lurk.
Earlier in the week, the Braves completed a trade with the A’s for Matt Olson and then signed him for eight years, effectively ending Freeman’s time in Atlanta. It wouldn't be long before Freeman and the Dodgers agreed to terms on the six-year megadeal. The Rays, Blue Jays and Yankees aggressively pursued Freeman as well.
He heavily considered the Rays, who were in it until the end with a six-year offer, according to sources. But once the Dodgers, who initially offered a four-year deal, matched the sixth year, returning home to Southern California played a key role in his decision, per sources.
“I would love to see Freddie Freeman in a Dodger uniform. Who wouldn’t?” Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said last week. “He’s a heck of a ballplayer.”
He certainly is. Freeman is one of the best hitters in baseball. He posted a .300 batting average with 31 homers and 83 RBIs last season and has proven to be a model of consistency. He has finished in the top-10 in NL MVP voting in each of the past four seasons.
With Corey Seager off to Texas, the Dodgers were in the market for a left-handed power bat to slot into the No. 2 hole of the lineup. Freeman helps them check off all those boxes. His clubhouse presence was also part of what enticed the Dodgers.
Adding Freeman to the top of the order helps Los Angeles construct the best lineup in baseball, at least on paper. With Freeman, the Dodgers are expected to have Mookie Betts, Trea Turner and Freeman at the top of the lineup. All three players have finished in the top-five in NL MVP voting over the past two seasons.
Here's what that full lineup could potentially look like:
Mookie Betts, RF
Freddie Freeman, 1B
Trea Turner, SS
Max Muncy, 2B
Will Smith, C
Justin Turner, 3B
Cody Bellinger, CF
Chris Taylor, LF
AJ Pollock, DH
Max Muncy, who suffered a torn UCL at the end of last season, is still a bit limited during camp. He is, however, expected to be ready closer to Opening Day. But even when Muncy is fully healthy and in the lineup, he can slide over to second base, a position he played 39 times in 2021. That would clear the way for Freeman to be the starting first baseman.
Having the designated hitter in the NL also helps the Dodgers coordinate playing time with their star-studded roster.
“He’s one of the best hitters in the game, there’s no doubt,” Muncy said. “Any team would be happy to have him, especially us. He would fit in this lineup really well, and we would be extremely dangerous, that’s for sure.”
We’re about to find out exactly how dangerous.