When Chase Utley retired at the end of the 2018 season, the Los Angeles Dodgers helped fill the void of a veteran presence by re-signing David Freese for another year.
Not only did Freese provide the Dodgers with that, but he also had a productive season on the field, hitting .315/.403/.599 with 11 home runs and 29 RBI in 79 regular-season games. He also went 4-for-8 with a double in the postseason, although the Dodgers were upset by the Washington Nationals in the National League Division Series to mark the end of their season.
Just days after L.A.’s shocking Game 5 loss, Freese decided to call it a career as he took to social media to announce his retirement at the age of 36 after 11 big league seasons.
The move didn’t come as much as a surprise considering he hinted at it multiple times throughout the course of the season. He was a favorite in the Dodgers clubhouse, and surely will be missed around Dodger Stadium.
While veteran players usually serve as a mentor to young players, Freese actually expressed his gratitude to be able to play with and learn from so many younger teammates, as seen on SportsNet LA:
“The best part of playing when you’re old is to be next to the young guys. Honestly, man, not only are you sticking around trying to do what you love, this is a young man’s game now. To still be wearing a uniform, watching 20 year olds, 22 year olds being the best players in the game, it’s a blast. We always joke around, when you’re younger you learn from the old guys. Now it’s kind of like the older guys are learning from the younger guys as much as this game has evolved.”
Freese may have only been an All-Star one time in his career in 2012, but he will forever be known as one of the most clutch postseason hitters, not only for what he did in his short time with the Dodgers, but more notably for his postseason heroics in leading the St. Louis Cardinals to a World Series Championship in 2011.
He was named the MVP of the NL Championship Series and World Series that year.
Retired Dodgers such as Utley and Andre Ethier are often seen around Dodger Stadium as they spend time with their former teammates, and it would not be any surprise for the club to involve Freese in a similar manner over the coming years.