The Dodgers have picked up the team option on David Freese’s contract worth $6 million to retain the 35-year old first and third baseman. Freese will remain under contract with the Dodgers through the 2019 season.
UPDATE: THE DODGERS BOUGHT OUT THE OPTION ON DAVID FREESE’S CONTRACT FOR $500,000 AND RE-SIGNED HIM TO A 1 YEAR, $4.5 MILLION DEAL.
The move to bring back Freese felt like a no-brainer. Freese, a seasoned veteran of ten years, has maintained his productivity in a starting role. With his experience and age, Freese should be able to take on Chase Utley’s role which has been vacated with Utley’s retirement. The Dodgers should benefit for the move for more than one reason.
More than Utley who was merely a clubhouse figure for his last two seasons with the Dodgers, Freese is still quite productive with his bat. In 113 games, Freese bat .296 with 11 home runs and 51 RBIs in 2018. He also accumulated a 2.1 WAR and 126 OPS+.
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The Dodgers will able to utilize Freese in a few roles. The first and most important will be as a seasoned veteran in the clubhouse and on the bench. Freese debuted in the league in 2009, winning an NLCS MVP and World Series MVP in that time.
In addition to experience, David Freese will bring a solid bat against lefties to the mix. In 2018, Freese hit .321 off southpaws with 5 of his 11 home runs. Freese also had a .876 OPS against lefties against his .786 OPS against right-handed pitching. The Dodgers as a whole hit just .240 with 67 of the team’s 235 total home runs against left-handed pitching.
Freese will also bring playoff experience and on top of that, playoff success. It is no secret that the Dodgers have had no success winning in the playoffs. Freese is no stranger to winning playoff games and has a ring from his 2011 World Series victory.
Finally, Freese will bring the biggest and best quality of all for any Dodgers: versatility. Freese has played first and third base over the last few seasons and the Dodgers could use a backup at both of those positions with Bellinger and Muncy being rovers as well.
In the end, this deal was a good one for the Dodgers. They added a productive, versatile and veteran bat for a mere $5 million and do not commit to him for more than one year.