After playing 11 seasons, David Freese announced his retirement on social media Saturday morning. Freese spent parts of the last two years with the Los Angeles Dodgers after being acquired from the Pittsburgh Pirates in August 2018.
Despite being well beyond an everyday player, his addition addressed a clear need for the Dodgers as they struggled against left-handed pitching. Freese appeared in just 19 games with the Dodgers last season but played a pivotal role for the team en route to a second consecutive appearance in the World Series.
He mulled retiring after the 2018 campaign and said that likely would have come to fruition if the Dodgers did not have interest in re-signing him. With their organizational depth, L.A. was able to withstand placing Freese on the 10-day injured list as he dealt with minor injuries this year.
“I think they’re all tough, obviously, but David is a tough loss in the sense of his at-bat against a lefty, off the bench the presence he has,” Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said in July. “But I think that fortunately, where we’re at, we have a luxury right now of not putting him in harms way to make sure he’s ready for the stretch run.”
— David Freese (@david23freese) October 12, 2019
Freese returned in September and again rose to the occasion in the postseason, albeit in a run that came to an end much earlier than most anticipated. He memorably appeared off the bench in Game 3 of the National League Division Series and went 3-for-3 in a rout of the Washington Nationals.
Freese was not seen in the Dodgers clubhouse after their elimination loss in Game 5, but his presence certainly was felt as teammates emotionally spoke about forthcoming roster changes because of retirement and free agency.
“I think it’s kind of well known that we have a really special clubhouse. The front office knows how to put a team together. A lot of personalities that gelled, we get along,” Walker Buehler said.
“This one stings. I mean, you might not play with some of these guys ever again. Some may call it a career, so saying bye to those guys is super tough. It sucks,” Cody Bellinger added.
The Dodgers have enjoyed the veteran experience and leadership of Chase Utley and Freese over the past handful of seasons but now have a void in that area heading into 2020.
Freese batted .328/.421/.607 with 15 doubles, 13 home runs and 38 RBI in 98 games over two years with the Dodgers.