Deferred money in Freddie Freeman contract proves he always wanted the Dodgers

Thomas Carannante
Oct 20, 2021; Los Angeles, California, USA; Los Angeles Dodgers first baseman Albert Pujols (55) smiles after being safe at first against Atlanta Braves first baseman Freddie Freeman (5) in the seventh inning during game four of the 2021 NLCS at Dodger Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports
Oct 20, 2021; Los Angeles, California, USA; Los Angeles Dodgers first baseman Albert Pujols (55) smiles after being safe at first against Atlanta Braves first baseman Freddie Freeman (5) in the seventh inning during game four of the 2021 NLCS at Dodger Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports /
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Was Freddie Freeman’s issue with the Atlanta Braves really about that sixth year in the contract or the sum of money that was offered? Perhaps … but it just doesn’t really seem like it.

In the end, Freeman’s offer from Atlanta was only $8 million less in totality when you factor in state taxes and actually had a higher AAV than what the Los Angeles Dodgers offered. But there’s more information that continues to paint this different picture.

According to insiders with greater knowledge of the Dodgers-Freeman contract situation, a total of $57 million has been deferred to 2028-2040, which has brought down the value of the deal by at least $14 million (some have said the deferrals decrease the overall value to $148 and $140 million).

Though the exact number is unclear, what’s obvious is that Freeman’s pact with the Dodgers wasn’t about money. Because if it was, he would’ve taken the near-identical offer from the Braves … or the bigger offer from the Rays … or whatever sizable deal the Yankees were willing to give so he could play alongside Aaron Judge and Giancarlo Stanton.

Freddie Freeman’s contract deferrals prove he always wanted the Dodgers

The Dodgers reportedly tried to include a significant amount of deferrals in their $300 million offer to Corey Seager, but agent Scott Boras swiftly rejected it, paving the way for the Texas Rangers to present a clean, uninterrupted $325 million pact. What are we trying to say? Deferrals usually hurt a team’s case to sign a player. Rarely does it help because it’s very much in the interest of the team’s finances.

More than 35% of Freeman’s contract was deferred, which is a hefty sum. Had the Braves offered that? The chatter would’ve undoubtedly circulated around them being cheap and unaccommodating … which could’ve had some truth to it.

But the Dodgers doing this? The organization that’s spent money more freely than anybody else, including the New York Yankees, for the better part of a decade? That’s just a clear sign they knew they could save money and land their star free agent of choice because Freeman wanted them.

Was this what everyone was talking about when it was said Freeman’s representation “overplayed its hand”? Was that “hand” simply “We want to play for the Los Angeles Dodgers but are going to drag out this process as long as possible to see how much money we can get”? Sure seems like it, because Freeman ended up settling for less than many were projecting, and that’s before you factor in the state taxes and deferrals.

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