With three weeks to go until the opening day of Major League Baseball and teams are racing to make moves and improve as shortened spring training begins.
Two of the biggest deals of the offseason occurred Wednesday, with 2020 MVP Freddie Freeman joining the Los Angeles Dodgers on a six-year, $162 million contract and 2016 MVP Kris Bryant agreeing to a seven-year, $162 million deal. 182 million with the Colorado Rockies.
Heading into Thursday, top free agent shortstops Carlos Correa and Trevor Story remained unsigned.
Keep it here all Thursday, and the rest of the spring, as USA TODAY Sports brings you the latest baseball news and buzz.
Jonathan Villar ready to sign with Cubs
The Cubs’ roster renewal continues, agreeing to a one-year deal with versatile infield free agent Jonathan Villar.
Villar hit 18 home runs with 14 steals for the Mets in 2021, playing second, third and shortstop. In 2019 with the Orioles, Villar set career highs with 25 home runs and 73, stealing 40 bases.
Since the lockout ended, the Cubs have signed shortstop Andrelton Simmons and Japanese outfielder Seiya Suzuki. Patrick Wisdom is listed at third base for Chicago with Nick Madrigal (coming off injury) at second, but Villar should get fairly regular at-bats.
Cardinals add depth with Corey Dickerson
Saint Louis agreed to a one-year contract with Corey Dickerson worth $5 million, adding the veteran to the at-bat mix against the right-handed pitcher as an outfielder and designated hitter.
Dickerson, 32, is a .288 career hitter against right-handers and spent 2021 with the Marlins and Blue Jays. He was an All-Star for the Rays in 2017 and a Gold Glover with the Pirates in 2018, but has only played 239 games in the last three seasons.
Dodgers sign Freddie Freeman for $162 million
In a surprising move Wednesday night, Freddie Freeman agreed to a six-year, $162 million contract with the Los Angeles Dodgers, a lucrative landing for the five-time All-Star who had spent his entire 12-year career with the Los Angeles Dodgers. Atlanta Braves. .
The addition of Freeman creates a host of dominant bats that will alternate between multiple positions with the addition of the designated hitter in the National League. Starting first baseman Max Muncy will now get most of his at-bats as the designated hitter or, perhaps, at second base.
Freeman’s defection from Atlanta came despite several teammates taking a microphone at the team’s World Series celebration and imploring management to re-sign Freeman. But the sides did not engage significantly before the 99-day strike began on December 2. On Monday, the end came suddenly for Freeman and Atlanta when the Braves acquired All-Star first baseman Matt Olson from the Oakland Athletics, signing him a day later. to an eight-year, $168 million contract.
So Freeman zeroed in on a landing spot where he will continue to compete for the World Series annually.
– USA TODAY Sports
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Giants sign lefty starter Matthew Boyd
Left-handed starter Matthew Boyd, a Tiger from 2015-21 and a free agent this offseason, agreed to a one-year, $5.2 million deal with the Giants on Wednesday night.
Boyd was the opening day star for the Tigers in 2021 and his time in Detroit spanned parts of seven seasons; during that time, he went 37-60 with a 4.87 ERA, 752 strikeouts, 247 walks, and 137 home runs allowed in 777 ⅔ innings.
– Ryan Ford, Detroit Free Press
Why did the Rockies sign Kris Bryant?
The Colorado Rockies, the same team that unloaded All-Star third baseman Nolan Arenado 11 months ago, waived veteran starter Jon Gray without giving him a qualifying offer in November, and have shown no inclination, even a desire to bring in return to the free premises. – agent shortstop Trevor Story suddenly spent $182 million over seven years to sign Bryant.
Several high-profile teams flirted with him, but none offered him the amount of money the Rockies showed him. The Philadelphia Phillies showed interest, but once they decided to sign Bryant’s former teammate Kyle Schwarber (four years, $79 million), Bryant had no choice but to walk away from tens of millions.
The most compelling questions at Bryant’s introductory news conference will be directed at the Rockies. You know, how can you spend $182 million on Bryant, but not keep your own local stars, even sending $51 million to the St. Louis Cardinals to take Arenado off their hands?
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: MLB Free Agent, Trade News: Freddie Freeman to Dodgers – Live Updates