We get it. It’s been a long MLB Lockout. Most baseball fans are either checked out or high on laudanum, convinced their teams are going to emerge from a long slumber by either continuing their malaise or by signing every available free agent on the market.
Dodgers fans can be classified as realistically ambitious. This is the preeminent spender in baseball, and has been since long before Steve Cohen was wreaking havoc. They also have genuine holes: Clayton Kershaw is still unsigned, Max Scherzer and Corey Seager are gone, and they must aim to top 100 wins to guarantee they slide past the San Francisco Giants. Moves will be made.
In other words, when MLB insiders try to connect the Dodgers to Carlos Correa, you listen.
When the city of Philadelphia idly muses about Freddie Freeman accidentally landing at Citizens Bank Park amid the free agent frenzy, though, you can’t help but snicker a bit.
Gaze upon a beautiful piece of local lockout journalism here from the Philly Voice, which asks the question, “If Freeman does leave the Braves, should the Phillies insert themselves into a two-way conversation between the Dodgers and Yankees out of literal nowhere?”
Why would the Phillies challenge the Dodgers for Freddie Freeman?
The Voice started out their argument by pointing out nearly the exact same counter, which is how you know you’re dealing in fantasy:
"A growing belief that Freeman will land somewhere outside of Atlanta. The usual suspects like the Dodgers and Yankees are the likely front-runners and are quite comfortable in exceeding the luxury tax threshold — unlike the Phillies.Is it worth it for the Phillies to pony up the dough and the six years required to tantalize Freeman to relocate within his division?"
I mean … I guess, in a vacuum? But why would Freeman choose Philly over a return to California with the contending Dodgers, or the chance to put on the pinstripes? It wouldn’t just take the offer of a sixth year for the Phillies to secure Freeman’s services. It would take a seventh, or an extra $50 million, for him to betray Atlanta so lustily within his own division.
Alright. So let’s manifest it. 02/22/22 just passed. The time is now to revel in The Secret.
Best of luck to Joe Girardi on telling Rhys Hoskins, arguably the third-in-line face of the franchise, that he’s a full-time DH and potential outfield fill-in now!
Come on, Phillies fans. Do this the right way. Revel in the unique joy of one of your division rivals self-combusting due to an unforced error.
But don’t pretend that you’ll be the ones to pay for your former rival’s age-38 season. That’s no way to build a team from the near-ground up. Everything except Bryce Harper and JT Realmuto arguably qualifies as “the ground.”
Would we love to see the Phillies back in the spotlight? Sure. 2008 was a long time ago. Matt Stairs is gone now.
But signing Freeman out of the blue and away from the Blue — a Herculean task — is not the way to do it. It’s simply not the Dave Dombrowski way.
Now, if Freeman was under contract and the Phillies had a farm system to gut in trade, that’d be a different story entirely.