The Los Angeles Dodgers made one of the biggest moves of the offseason by signing Freddie Freeman to a six-year contract worth $162 million.
Throughout much of the free agency process it was expected Freeman would return to the Atlanta Braves, the organization he has spent the last 15 years with. But the door opened for the Dodgers once the Braves moved on by acquiring Matt Olson in a trade with the Oakland Athletics.
By signing Freeman, the Dodgers have four former MVPs on their active roster. They are just the fifth team in MLB history to boast such talent at one time.
Freeman, the 2020 National League MVP, joins Cody Bellinger (2019 NL MVP), Mookie Betts (2018 American League MVP) and Clayton Kershaw (2014 NL MVP) as the Dodgers who have previously won the award.
The Dodgers also achieved the feat last season when they signed future Hall of Famer Albert Pujols once he was released by the L.A. Angels. No team has ever had five or more former MVPs on their roster.
The Dodgers can lay claim to being the only team with four MVP winners on their roster in back-to-back seasons.
The only other teams to have four separate MVP winners on their team are the 1996 Boston Red Sox, 1982 L.A. Angels and 1978 Cincinnati Reds. Of the previous teams, just the Angels and Dodgers made the postseason, but only the Red Sox failed to win at least 92 games.
No team with at least four former MVPs has ever won the World Series, so the Dodgers will look to change that in 2022.
Freeman won the NL MVP after hitting .341/.462/.640 with 13 home runs, a 186 wRC+ and 3.3 WAR in 60 games for the Braves during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic-shortened 2020 season.
Bellinger won the award in 2019 by hitting .305/.406/.629 with 47 home runs, a 161 wRC+ and 7.7 WAR in 156 games.
The only AL winner on the team, Betts won his in 2018 when he hit .346/.438/.640 with 32 home runs, 30 stolen bases, a 185 wRC+ and 10.4 WAR for the Boston Red Sox in 136 games.
Kershaw won the 2014 MVP by throwing 198.1 innings with a 1.77 ERA, 1.81 FIP, striking out nearly 32% of hitters he faced and walking just slightly more than 4% and accumulating 7.9 WAR.
Friedman: Re-signing Kershaw was top priority
The Dodgers faced the prospect of losing one of their franchise pillars in free agency this offseason but they ensured Kershaw would spend at least one more year with the team by re-signing him to a contract worth a reported $17 million base salary.
Dodgers president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman had made it apparent in the past that he hopes Kershaw spends his entire career in L.A., and prior to the lockout acknowledged such a desire could have an affect on how they approached contract talks.
“I think what Kersh has meant to this organization and city of Los Angeles goes without talking about. I think going into the offseason for us, it was the No. 1 priority,” Friedman explained of re-signing the three-time Cy Young Award winner.
“Keeping Kersh in Dodger Blue was our biggest priority coming in. Through the conversations, felt confident but not knowing for sure. And then post-lockout, he was the first phone call I made and we worked quickly to get it done.”
Have you subscribed to the Dodger Blue YouTube channel? Be sure to ring the notification bell to watch player interviews, participate in shows and giveaways, and stay up to date on all Dodgers news and rumors!