Los Angeles Dodgers fans can count on MLB insider Jon Heyman for their weekly Freddie Freeman update, and he was right on cue Monday afternoon as everyone was waiting for updates in regard to the ongoing lockout.
But we’re not so sure this one’s necessarily “good” for LA. Heyman revealed another team that’s reportedly involved in the Freeman chase as well as the hierarchy among those who have been mentioned multiple times before.
The newcomer? Andrew Friedman’s old friend in the Tampa Bay Rays, who Heyman says “made an offer” to the slugger before the lockout. With Wander Franco still making under $3 million per year the next three seasons and with payrolls expected to remain in the $70-$80 million range the next two years, perhaps Tampa has the financial bandwidth to shock the world here.
Most fans wouldn’t bet on that, though. The bigger concern is the New York Yankees remain atop the pack, with the Dodgers mentioned alongside the Jays as those that “could fit.” Really? “Could fit?” This is a match made in heaven for just about every obvious reason.
Are the Dodgers falling out of the Freddie Freeman race?
It certainly helps that Max Muncy went ahead and partook in his own recruiting efforts when speaking to the media about Freeman, but will that be enough? Though the Yankees have somewhat fallen off as a financial behemoth in recent years because of their desire to get under the luxury tax threshold, it’s no surprise they’re desperate heading into what looks like a make-or-break 2022 campaign for them.
Many have considered Freeman to be the missing piece for them, especially if they’re going to avoid a marquee shortstop as they wait for the arrival of one of their prized top prospects. New York cannot afford to sit back and watch the rest of the league make moves again while they try to save every last penny with acquisitions that are nothing more than flyers or depth pieces.
Additionally, the Dodgers have a lot more money committed to their payroll compared to the Yankees and would be in danger of paying an escalating (and likely excessive) tax depending on the new CBT thresholds determined by the next collective bargaining agreement.
Don’t scoff at the Jays’ interest, either. Toronto missed the postseason last year by one game and only have $136 million on the books for 2022, which is very little for the amount of premier talent on their roster. Throwing Freeman into the mix alongside the controllable years of Vladimir Guerrero Jr. and Bo Bichette could give the Blue Jays a dominant core that would be considered among the World Series favorites.
None of this is necessarily bad news for the Dodgers, but Freeman’s market is perhaps a bit more convoluted than previously expected and it’s not going to be as simple as offering a lot of money and being an attractive destination to get this done. LA always possesses among the most enticing offers in terms of location and financial security, though, so fans have every right to go as far as projecting the World Series champ as their first baseman next season.