While the start of the offseason meant John Axford, Brian Dozier, Yasmani Grandal, Daniel Hudson, Ryan Madson and Hyun-Jin Ryu officially became free agents on Monday morning, the Los Angeles Dodgers also face uncertainty with David Freese, Clayton Kershaw and manager Dave Roberts.
The Dodgers hold a club option on Roberts for the 2019 season and while he managed the entire year without it being exercised, president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman and general manager Farhan Zaidi indicated it was simply a matter of remaining focused on the field.
Friedman reiterated that stance at the conclusion of the World Series, explaining the Dodgers have an intention of signing Roberts to a long-term extension.
With Kershaw, a 9 p.m. deadline on Wednesday night loomed for the three-time Cy Young Award winner to make a decision on his opt-out clause. The same held true for the Dodgers and their club option on Freese.
According to Jorge Castillo of the L.A. Times, Freese and the Dodgers agreed to extend the deadline for a decision to Friday afternoon:
The Dodgers and David Freese have also agreed to extend their deadline to Friday at 1. Freese has a $6 million team option for next season.
— Jorge Castillo (@jorgecastillo) November 1, 2018
Moving the timeline back on Freese came hours after the Dodgers announced the same had been done with Kershaw. In that case, the assumption is Kershaw and the team may come to terms on a contract extension.
For Freese, he filled the exact role that was expected when the Dodgers traded for him at the Aug. 31 deadline. He hit .385/.489/.641 with two doubles, two home runs and nine RBI in 19 games and was strong in the postseason, capped off by batting .417/.500/.833 in the World Series.
While exercising their option on Freese would appear to be a no-brainer, the Dodgers conceivably could first pay the $500,000 buyout in effort to come to terms on a contract that would pay him less than $6 million.