Wednesday, March 16, 2022
Copyrighted by Sarah Morris, 2022
Since the Atlanta Braves became the 2021 world champions, the Los Angeles Dodgers were rumored to have an interest in signing the longtime Brave left-handed first baseman Freddie Freeman. Tonight, they finally signed him to a six-year $162 million contract. With the addition of Freeman, the Dodgers guaranteed themselves to be considered one of the elite teams in the Major Leagues.
When the Dodgers lost Corey Seager to the Texas Rangers to a humongous deal, they needed another left-handed power hitter. The most logical choice was Freeman, but would he leave the Braves?
Freeman loved the Atlanta Brave organization. He debuted in the Major Leagues in 2010 and has earned every award. Braves fans wanted Freeman to remain with his original organization like Hall of Famer Chipper Jones did. However, the Braves balked at giving a thirty-two-year-old first baseman a six-year deal even though Freeman was the face of the organization. Monday, though the Brave general manager gave an emotional good-bye to Freeman, the Braves traded for the Oakland A’s first baseman Matt Olson and immediately signed an eight-year $132 million extension.
Several teams have expressed interest in Freeman, but he is from Southern California. He gives the Dodgers a .295 lifetime hitter with 271 home runs. He has earned a National League Gold Glove. He brings to the Dodgers something that they have not had – a left-handed hitter who can have a high batting average with tremendous power. Freeman has a winning smile and looks like he loves playing baseball. During his time in the Major Leagues, Freeman has been durable.
The acquisition of Freeman eases the pressure on the rest of the Dodger lineup. Max Muncy suffered a torn UCL on the last day of the 2021 regular season. Although both the Dodgers and Muncy believe he will be ready for Opening Day on April 7th, no one knows for sure. The Dodgers did not have a regular second baseman for the last two years, but Muncy enjoys playing there.
Coming off a disappointing injury-riddled 2021 season, Cody Bellinger can relax and concentrate on improving his new batting stance discovered just before the 2021 playoffs. Freeman can protect the aging Justin Turner in the lineup.
Unless the new general manager Brandon Gomes obtains a starting pitcher before Opening Day, the Dodgers must have a strong offense to make up for a weak starting rotation. Yes, they have both Walker Buehler and Julio Urìas, who had a marvelous 2021 regular season, but they might be injury-prone in the 2022 season. Clayton Kershaw returned, but no one knows how his forearm will hold up over the course of the 162-game regular season. Nobody knows who will be their fourth and fifth starter.
The San Francisco Giants will have a hard time repeating as the National League Western Division champs even though they signed both Carlos Rodon and Joc Pederson. Tonight, the Colorado Rockies signed Kris Bryant to a seven-year deal, but the Rockies will not be a factor unless they figure out how to pitch. With Fernando Tatis, Jr.’s broken wrist that will keep him out of the lineup for three months, the San Diego Padres will not be a factor in the National League Western Division.
The Dodgers should be playing in October, but the acquisition of Freeman almost guarantees the Dodgers will play deep in the postseason.
Wednesday, March 16, 2022