Camelback, Arizona (News4usonline) – Freddie Freeman is a Dodger, officially confirming another championship or bust season for Los Angeles. The six-year deal keeps Freeman in Dodger blue until 2027. His elite bat helps fill the void left in the Dodgers’ lineup after the offseason departure of former World Series MVP Corey Seager.
Ever since Guggenheim Baseball Management bought the Dodgers in 2012, the franchise has been in win-now mode. Excluding 2012 and the 2020 Covid-19 shortened season, the Dodgers have won at least 91 games and made the playoffs in every season since the ownership change. The expectations for this season are now as high as ever with Freeman on board.
Ready, Freddie? pic.twitter.com/kxQ4jNRYHk— Los Angeles Dodgers (@Dodgers) March 22, 2022
“There are a lot of large revenue teams who have had success and then fallen off a cliff… I can argue that our next five years outlook is better than what we did over the previous five… (to) keep that going speaks to the position that ownership puts us in,” Dodgers President of Baseball Operations Andrew Friedman said during the team’s new first baseman’s press conference.
This year’s Dodgers batting order projects to be one of the most prolific lineups from top to bottom in recent history. Eight of the nine players that are expected to start have been named an All-Star at some point throughout their career. The only exception being Will Smith, who will likely earn a number of accolades before it is all said and done.
“There (are) a lot of all-stars sitting down that lineup… you still (have) to go out and play… hopefully we can score a lot of runs because we got the guys to be able to do it,” Freeman said during his introduction to the team.
Adding Freddie Freeman to the roster gives Los Angeles a third former MVP in the everyday lineup along with Mookie Betts and Cody Bellinger. The starting rotation is led by top-end young stars Walker Buehler and Julio Urías, joined by another former MVP Clayton Kershaw.
That’s not to mention the Dodgers retain 2021 batting champion, Trea Turner, for one more season after acquiring him during last year’s Max Scherzer trade deadline deal. The Dodgers are stacked.
First look in a Dodger uni. pic.twitter.com/e2yWoX3l9T— Los Angeles Dodgers (@Dodgers) March 21, 2022
If not for the addition of Freeman, the offseason for the Dodgers would have looked pretty bleak in terms of the standards they have set recently. They lost Seager as well as a trio of top-line bullpen pitchers in Kenley Jansen, Joe Kelly and Corey Knebel this offseason.
Instead, the signing marks the third consecutive offseason the Dodgers have opened up the bank in order to catch one of the biggest fish on the market.
In the locker room after a recent practice, Justin Turner called Freeman, “a professional guy, a professional hitter, a good defender, someone that… is going to come right into this clubhouse and fit right in and make this team even more dynamic.”
Your Opening Day starter, Walker Buehler. pic.twitter.com/8COfsCtiuB— Los Angeles Dodgers (@Dodgers) March 24, 2022
A strong case can be made that even though Freeman is older, he could provide more for the Dodgers than Seager would have. Seager has only played over 100 games three times in his career, while Freeman has only missed 7 games over the past four seasons. He should also provide more power hitting 31 and 38 homers the last two full seasons, while Seager has not reached 20 home runs since 2017.
Freeman’s offensive prowess from the left side of the plate made him an easy signing for Andrew Friedman and company. His character makes the acquisition a home run. Freeman is widely regarded as one of the nicest players in the sport, and his leadership will go a long way in the clubhouse.
He is truly the full package for Los Angeles, and could be the perfect missing piece for another championship run, similarly to Mookie Betts in 2020.
Dodgers manager Dave Roberts was asked about writing Freeman’s name in the lineup before his first spring training game with the Dodgers. “There was a little smile, right now he’s in the 3 (spot)… having him in the lineup is exciting for everyone,” Roberts said.
The Dodgers will enter the 2022 season as the favorites to win the National League once again. The organization has shown no signs of slowing down and has proven they are willing to do whatever it takes to manufacture results. The Freddie Freeman signing is just the latest example.
Photo: LOS ANGELES, CA – APRIL 05: Los Angeles Dodgers Freddie Freeman (5) rounds second base on his way to scoring on a Justin Turner (10) double against the Los Angeles Angels in the third inning for a spring training game at Dodger Stadium on April 5, 2022 in Los Angeles, CA. (Photo by John McCoy/Icon Sportswire)