It may just be spring training, but the offseason addition of Freddie Freeman is already showing how impactful it’ll be for the Los Angeles Dodgers. In a star-studded Dodgers’ lineup, it’s crazy to think one player can make a major difference, but arguably the most headline-grabbing signing of the free agency period absolutely will.
Freeman’s first at-bat as a Dodger was a base hit, and in Friday night’s game against the Padres, Freeman recorded his first unofficial home run with his new team. In the bottom of the first inning facing a 3-0 count against Nick Martinez, Freeman took one for a ride to the Dodgers’ bullpen with a patented oppo shot.
Losing an All-Star lefty slugging bat in Corey Seager was thought to deeply affect this Dodgers lineup, but he was replaced with another superstar who’s coming off an MVP award and World Series title in back-to-back seasons.
Freddie Freeman hit his first unofficial home run as a Los Angeles Dodger
The Freeman free agency saga was a long one, especially when you consider the lockout. It was definitely a bumpy ride for Dodgers’ fans waiting to hear if he would be wearing Dodger blue. At one point, many started to wonder if another team could come and snatch Freeman from the Dodgers’ grip, but in the end, Andrew Friedman was able to get the job done again.
The impact Freeman will have on this Dodgers’ team goes much further than just his power. He completes a lineup that, frankly, seemed to already be the best in baseball. Assuming he will bat third, any starting pitcher will have to deal with (most likely) Trea Turner, Mookie Betts and Freeman in the first inning.
To go along with that, the lineup doesn’t get much weaker after those three, making it nearly impossible to pitch around any Dodgers hitter. What’s even crazier is that Freeman should see many more pitches to hit this year in a better lineup, which could boost his numbers even more. He spent most of last year without Ronald Acuńa Jr. protecting him in the Braves lineup and he still managed to win a Silver Slugger after hitting .300 with an .896 OPS, 120 runs scored (led NL), 31 home runs and 83 RBI. His playoff numbers also blew the competition out of the water en route to the Braves’ championship victory.
While it may take time for Freeman to get acclimated in LA, he’s now back where it all began for him in Southern California. Getting comfortable shouldn’t take too long, both on and off the field.