Los Angeles Dodgers Sign Freddie Freeman To 6-Year Contract

The Los Angeles Dodgers officially signed the 2020 National League MVP and five-time All-Star Freddie Freeman to a six-year contract. Danny Duffy was placed on the 60-day injured list in order to create a spot for Freeman on the Dodgers’ 40-man roster.

The deal reportedly pays Freeman $162 million over the lifetime of the contract, with an average annual value of $27 million. The 12-year veteran reached free agency for the first time after spending his entire career up to this point with the Atlanta Braves. He previously signed an eight-year, $135 million contract extension in February 2014.

While it was expected the Braves legend would remain with the franchise, they were reportedly unwilling to offer him a sixth year in his contract and ultimately moved on by acquiring Matt Olson in a trade with the Oakland Athletics.

The Braves’ decision opened the door for the Dodgers to bring the Southern California native home and despite competition from multiple teams, including the Toronto Blue Jays, Tampa Bay Rays and New York Yankees, they were able to get a deal done.

Earlier in the process, it appeared the Dodgers were looking to sign Freeman on a shorter-term, high average annual value contract, but in the end they stepped up to guarantee Freeman the six years he wanted.

Freeman is among the best players in baseball and over the last decade the 32-year-old has been remarkably consistent.

MLB Network’s The Shredder recently ranked him as the No. 1 first baseman in baseball for the 2022 season, while all three of MLB Network’s analysts had Freeman ranked second, behind only Blue Jays All-Star Vladimir Guerrero Jr.

In 2021, the left-handed-hitting Freeman batted .300/.393/.503 with 31 home runs, a .379 wOBA, 135 wRC+ and 4.5 WAR in 159 games.

Despite his strong overall line, Freeman struggled by his standards with a .788 OPS in April and finished the first half of the season hitting .274/.381/.489, which is still elite but a step back from where he has been throughout his career.

However, in the second half, Freeman was able to get back to producing at an MVP-caliber level as he helped the Braves win their first World Series since 1995.

Freeman is a career .295/.384/.509 hitter with a .379 wOBA, 138 wRC+ and he is just 29 home runs away from 300. He also won a Gold Glove in 2018 and has earned three consecutive Silver Slugger Awards.

Nearly every projection system has Freeman reaching 300 home runs by the end of the 2022 season, and he should once again hit right around .300/.400/.520 in 150-plus games, just now doing so in the middle of the Dodgers’ lineup.

Freeman was originally selected by the Braves in the second round of the 2007 MLB Draft and made his MLB debut three years later.

How Freddie Freeman impacts the Dodgers lineup

Freeman should fit within the first four spot of the Dodgers lineup and he replaces the left-handed bat that was lost when Corey Seager signed with the Texas Rangers.

The Dodgers have an embarrassment of riches and it is hard to overstate just how good their lineup will be in 2022. They currently have nine hitters who are projected to produce at above league-average levels and their lineup may end up rivaling some of the best of all-time.

With the addition of the designated hitter in the NL, the Dodgers should have no problem getting adequate playtime for their deep collection of position players. They could even bring in a primary designated hitter while giving Chris Taylor six starts a week at different positions to get regulars a day off.

It was previously reported L.A. was trying to sign Freeman and Nelson Cruz, who wound up joining the Washington Nationals, so they are at least open to the idea.

Either way, the addition of Freeman will likely push Max Muncy to the everyday second baseman, which further increases the team’s positional flexibility by freeing up Taylor or Lux to fill utility roles instead of locking one of them in to one spot. Muncy had already stated he would welcome a move to second base in order to accommodate Freeman.

Muncy could also receive a lot of starts as the primary DH early as he recovers from a torn ulnar collateral ligament (UCL).

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