We’re writing about this because we have to write about this. We cover the Los Angeles Dodgers, dammit. The team that got Freddie Freeman to sign on the dotted line. When allegations of this magnitude are levied, we have to look in the mirror and say…”Does that make sense at all?”
In this case, Wednesday night’s rumor doesn’t line up whatsoever with both previous pieces of public knowledge about the Freeman saga, nor does it follow the path of Ken Rosenthal’s latest inside look at the Freeman-Braves-Dodgers triumvirate. Who do you trust? Rosenthal and the rest of the baseball world? Or Doug Gottlieb, a non-baseball shouting guy?
Here’s what we knew on Wednesday morning: Freeman ostensibly fired his agents, despite describing his relationship with them as “fluid.” He had just spent an emotional weekend in Atlanta, and was emotionally … spent.
The Braves had every chance to re-sign Freeman this offseason, but public consensus says they made the difficult decision early on to pivot to Matt Olson if possible, preferring his projected future production. Rosenthal backed up that assertion again on Wednesday in his column (subscription required).
The relationship ended, mostly on Atlanta’s terms. Freeman’s wounds were still fresh this weekend, but he requested closure and announced he was moving on after the series. So … what is this Gottlieb bombshell claiming Casey Close, Freeman’s (former) agent, never told him Atlanta’s final offer, which he would’ve taken? Needless to say, the positing of this rumor invoked a fervent claim of legal action from Close’s side.
Did Freddie Freeman’s agent Casey Close lie to him about Braves’ offer before Dodgers signing?
That would be the end of Excel, as we know it.
The agency also lost Trevor Story this offseason. Losing two clients of that magnitude in one spring after both signed new deals is alarming. It’s just too absurd to be true…
…And yet … we’ve got GRAPHICS running with it as proven fact? Honest to goodness, GRAPHICS?!
For what it’s worth — and it seems to be worth plenty! — Close categorically denied the report on Wednesday night, and threatened legal response.
According to Rosenthal’s sources and the first baseman’s statements, Freeman made it clear at the outset of the process that he wanted to stay in Atlanta and run a leverage play. However, there’s no evidence the Braves’ offer extended beyond a maximum of $140 million over five years; Freeman also turned down their $135 million offer in Aug. 2021.
What remains up for debate is whether Freeman desired six years, or whether the agency desired six years on his behalf. If Freeman was close to agreeing to $135 million last summer and would’ve jumped at $140 million (well below market), that’s one thing, and would be a stunning omission from the narrative.
But what we do know is Freeman’s team had less than no interest in Atlanta’s initial overtures, and Atlanta seemed to craft their entire offseason around moving on from Freeman while feeling bad about it. This conclusion to the story doesn’t quite add up.