GLENDALE, Ariz. (AP) — Los Angeles Dodgers manager Dave Roberts used to imagine what it would be like to have Freddie Freeman on his side.
He doesn’t have to wonder anymore.
All speculation about Freeman joining the Dodgers went from rumor to reality when the five-time All-Star, former Atlanta Braves first baseman and free agent agreed to a six-year deal worth $162 million. dollars on Wednesday night.
“On paper, it’s a great lineup, as good as anything I’ve seen,” Roberts said Thursday.
Freeman was expected to arrive at camp on Friday, a day after undergoing a physical in Los Angeles.
Roberts’ bold optimism echoed throughout the Dodgers’ clubhouse. In Freeman, the Dodgers said they have another star, a fourth former MVP on their 2022 roster. His left-handed bat appears to fill the hole left when Corey Seager signed with the Texas Rangers in late November.
“He’s a position player in an All-Star lineup,” said pitcher Clayton Kershaw, a former MVP along with teammates Mookie Betts and Cody Bellinger. “With what he brings to Freddie, he has to be, if not the best, one of the top three or four hitters in the game.”
In addition to hitting, Roberts says the 32-year-old Freeman will create more options in the field.
“I can’t project exactly what the lineup is going to be at this point,” Roberts said. “But this list was already very versatile. Now, there’s a lot more we can do with someone who is already one of the best hitters in the game.”
“Now, we should be shredding equipment, going deeper into the pens. We should score runs,” he said e.
Infielder Justin Turner was happy to have a player he knew from growing up in Southern California. Freeman grew up in Orange County and Turner is from Long Beach.
“I’ve known Freddie for a long time,” Turner said. “We grew up playing together. I’ve been recruiting him to the Dodgers for the last five years.”
“I’m excited, and that’s probably an understatement. Obviously, there’s been a lot of buildup and a lot of talk and a lot of anticipation about what was going to happen. To finally see it go down and be official, I slept really well,” she said.
Freeman hit .300 with 31 home runs and 83 RBI last season.
“I think he’s always been a great hitter. Add him to our lineup, and it could be ridiculous, to be honest. He knows how to drive races. That is an art form. It’s not something you learn overnight, he said.
Freeman, an Angels fan growing up, helped eliminate the Dodgers in last year’s NL Championship Series. The Braves won the World Series, beating the Houston Astros in six games.
Roberts did not speak to him then.
“I was too angry,” he said.
Roberts waited to speak with Freeman on a call with Dodgers president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman just before the lockout began Dec. 2.
“Him accepting my call and Andrew’s, before the lockout, showed me that his interest was sincere,” Roberts said.
The Dodgers closing the deal, Kershaw said, is another example of why the franchise continues to be successful.
“We’ve spent money,” said Kershaw, who signed a one-year deal to stay with the Dodgers last Friday, ending speculation he might jump to the Rangers. little different from the others.”
“But I would say that most of the time they (owners) have been pretty consistent with their actions and shown us that they really want to do whatever it takes to win,” he said. “I am grateful for that. one of the reasons I wanted to come back. You still see what’s going on with other teams at the moment, so that’s even more reason to be happy to be here.”
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