Freddie Freeman has arguably been the best value contract in MLB since signing his six-year, $162 million deal with the Los Angeles Dodgers prior to the 2022 season. And somehow there's more where that came from!
Freeman has the game's 22nd highest AAV, but is a perennial MVP contender. So far in 2023, he leads the NL in runs scored (52), doubles (23), OPS (.960) and total bases (140). The Dodgers would be floundering without him, given all of their other roster issues at the moment.
While Freeman's on-field value speaks for itself, there's also something to be said about his baseball IQ and foresight. Maybe he has a future in an MLB front office? Maybe he joins a broadcast crew like so many other former players once he calls it quits? Either way, the Dodgers need to take advantage of his eye while he's here through 2027.
Freeman was instrumental in the offseason recruitment of Jason Heyward, whose career was believed to be dead after he fell off the face of the earth with the Chicago Cubs, producing a well below-average output from 2016-2022.
But Freeman saw something in his former teammate, and obviously knew the Dodgers might be willing to take a chance because of their lack of aggression with spending this past offseason. He convinced the front office and Dave Roberts that Heyward would be a good fit, and the rest is history.
Dodgers need to utilize Freddie Freeman's recruiting abilities
Heyward, once believed to be a fringe roster guy for LA, has logged an .810 OPS and 117 OPS+ in 47 games this year. He's provided the lefty pop the Dodgers probably thought they were going to get from David Peralta. He's been a well above-average versatile defensive option to help Roberts maneuver his way through lineup cards.
The veteran is also seeing positive trends with his strikeout and walk rates. And this isn't flukey, either. Heyward's advanced/peripheral metrics are, for the most part, lining up with his surface-level production. It's actually kind of been a miracle for the 33-year-old.
Freeman isn't responsible for Heyward's renaissance, but he was knowledgable enough to realize that it could be on the horizon, especially if Heyward was given a more advantageous setting instead of the steadily declining situation in Chicago, where the Cubs were more focused on the development of their new television network.
And now that Freeman's seeing a contrasting style in approach with JD Martinez, his perspective on these matters will only expand in the coming years, making him more useful as a resource in the personnel department.