Looking to aid their woes against left-handed pitching, the Los Angeles Dodgers acquired veteran infielder David Freese from the Pittsburgh Pirates with little time to spare at the Aug. 31 waiver trade deadline.
Freese brought with him an impressive track record, having participated in two World Series while additionally earning National League Championship Series and World Series MVP honors as a member of the St. Louis Cardinals in 2011.
The 35-year-old was immediately implemented as the Dodgers starting first baseman against opposing southpaws and produced at an elite level, hitting a scorching .385/.489/.641 with two doubles, one triple, one home run and nine RBI in 47 September plate appearances.
Freese, who is typically accustomed to playing everyday, has tallied only one postseason at-bat thus far. He is understanding of the club’s platoon method, however, and believes he has contributed whenever called upon.
In addition to his on-field production, Freese represents another leadership figure for the clubhouse. “You know, when he first came over, obviously we talked about the experience earlier, and his pedigree is off the charts in our clubhouse,” Justin Turner said.
“He’s probably been in and done it better than anyone else we have. But then as the month, month and a half has gone on, watching him and seeing the connections he’s made with the younger guys has been incredible. They flock to him. They’re always around him, they’re always talking to him.
“And he has had, I think, a huge influence, a huge impact on a lot of our young players that, you know, not that myself and Chase and other guys don’t have as much influence on them, but I think at some point, guys get tired of hearing the same voices over and over again. So to bring him in and have a new voice and a new guy kind of preaching the same stuff that we preach, maybe in a little bit different way I think was refreshing for those guys, and I think it’s gone a long way.”
Dodgers manager Dave Roberts echoed Turner’s comments and was complimentary of Freese’s impact on the younger players. “David has been great for our ball club,” he added. “You hear a lot of good things about him from the other side. Coaches and players talk about him, the way he plays the game.
“But to see him over the last couple of months and how the young players, veteran players have gravitated towards him, spending time with him on the road, having the conversations in the infield during batting practice and the clubhouse. So for him to have that impact on a club this fast obviously is a credit to him, and I echo everything J.T. said.”
Freese had his first big postseason moment for the Dodgers in Game 4 of the NL Division Series, delivering a pinch-hit two-run single that gave them a decided lead in the clincher.
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