When the vaunted Los Angeles Dodgers agreed to terms with California-tied Freddie Freeman, swiping him out from under the Braves’ tree after Atlanta changed the game with a Matt Olson trade, the consensus was that the Braves got younger and potentially better.
The one thing they forgot, however, was the intangible benefit of keeping Freeman where he wanted to be all along. Putting all petulance aside, the 32-year-old Dodger has been as consistent as ever, posting an .876 OPS, .304 average and 47 RBI through the month of June. Imagine if he’d remained in Georgia? Kidding.
Freeman’s public spat with his management and clear emotional outpouring upon returning to his former home have stolen the headlines from his ever-consistent bat. After all, it’s not often that someone performing as well as Freeman still has to fend off “second fiddle” questions from the likes of Clayton Kershaw.
And that’s why this little video of Olson and Freeman from last weekend’s Braves-Dodgers showdown is going to circulate forever.
No matter how well Freeman performs — and no matter how far he is from Atlanta at any given time — Olson and the Braves will always be there to chop him down in the public arena.
Dodgers Freddie Freeman and Matt Olson will always be connected
Olson has had a decidedly weird start to his Braves career. Sometimes, the greatest ability is availability, and he’s matched the reliable Freeman in that department, starting a league-leading 77 games through the end of June. His trademark power has also manifested itself in a fleet of doubles; he leads the NL with 31 of those bad boys after hitting “just” 35 last season.
Still odd, though, is his home run output. Just as Freeman is struggling to clear the fence at the pace he probably expected to, Olson has “just” 12 blasts as the All-Star break nears. When Atlanta moved on, the expectation was Olson would provide significantly more over-the-fence power than their incumbent first baseman. That has not been the case thus far.
Instead, his totals have been chopped down to size.
Ultimately, the Braves’ bet on Olson’s youth and long, loping swing may pay off. For now, though, the Dodgers are happy with the rewards they’ve reaped, as long as Freeman keeps his head down and ducks the prevailing narrative for a while.
Perhaps too late, though, after a chop-heavy weekend.