Freddie Freeman clearly wanted Braves back on Dodgers deal
It’s rare for a player to change agents right after signing a monster deal. But Freddie Freeman is seriously considering doing just that, and he’s expected to do it, as Buster Olney first reported.
Freeman obviously wasn’t happy about leaving the Braves even if it meant going almost home to the Dodgers (he’s from The OC), and he initially blamed the Braves’ management, who are very budget conscious despite be a huge moneymaker (they reportedly made $100 million in profit in 2021), can be very corporate and don’t tend to be hot or fuzzy. But while he has gathered information about what happened, he now at least partly blames Excel, his longtime representatives. Another thing to ask: while it is clear today that Freeman really wanted to stay, one has to wonder if his agents received and understood this message? It’s up to Freeman to decide who deserves the blame, but the Braves don’t seem guilty here, from what I understand either.
Here’s how the negotiations went, sources say. For the record, Excel’s chief baseball agent, Casey Close, denied the story told here by others, saying via text message that it was « false », without further details.
In any case, Freeman himself thinks the Braves tried harder than he previously thought (although from then on, while their offers were comparable to the Dodgers’ deal, the Braves didn’t seem as concerned about keeping the Braves legend alive as one might imagine). Although he responded to the initial report that he was leaving Excel by saying the situation was « smooth », he is expected to indeed leave the agency.
Whoever you believe, something obviously went very wrong, because Freeman’s tears in Atlanta told a story. He seemed so upset to be gone that Hall of Fame-bound Dodgers teammate Clayton Kershaw, who is also replaced by Excel, publicly hoped the Dodgers wouldn’t be a « second fiddle, » reminded Freeman that the Dodgers are a « pretty special » team and suggested he would « really appreciate it once he gets comfortable here ».
As for the specifics, sources say the Braves offered $135 million for five years right after the trade deadline last summer, upping their initial offer by $125 million (matching the annual salary of another Excel client, George Springer). With the Braves only around .500 at the time, they decided to go over Paul Goldschmidt’s $130 million deal, agreeing that Freeman was the best player with a resume yet. bigger. At that time, Excel suggested the offer should be for six years.
Then, after the lockdown ended, Excel called the Braves on March 12 to make some counter offers and let them know they needed an immediate response and had to submit their maximum offer, which implied that they were ready to move. That night, sources claim Excel presented two options as a ‘Braves prize’, which presumably meant a cut-price deal for their favorite team: $165m for five years or $175m for six. They also increased the urgency by telling the Braves they had exactly one hour to respond.
The Braves came back and said no thanks to the numbers from Excel, but since they had to try something for an iconic Brave after the World Series victory and the end of the lockout, sources say they verbally increased their bid at $140 million for five. It wasn’t a huge raise for an iconic player, but Freeman’s reps could have countered at the time, and it’s hard to imagine the Braves wouldn’t have hit at least $145 million considering of its value to the franchise. Instead, sources say the talks appeared to end amicably, with the sides starting to talk about other Excel free agents, and the Braves believing the Freeman camp had something for more than $175 million. dollars and was about to take it.
It was then that the Braves, apparently thinking that Freeman must be close to a deal elsewhere, turned their attention to other options. They tried to sign Anthony Rizzo the next day, and came to nothing, as they were told that Rizzo wanted to wait until Freeman was off the board (he might also have preferred a return to the Yankees, where he quickly landed). So Braves general manager Alex Anthopoulos called A honcho Billy Beane on March 13 and made the trade for Matt Olson the next day. Shortly after, the Braves announced an eight-year, $168 million deal, which shows how badly they wanted him.
The first problem is that Freeman clearly didn’t end up where he wanted, even though the Braves reportedly made two competitive offers.
The second is that he didn’t get a better offer in Los Angeles than the Braves would have offered. The $162 million over six years in Los Angeles is mitigated by an estimated $13 million tax increase in California over Georgia, the $57 million in deferred funds in the Los Angeles agreement for a another estimated $13 million loss (the Braves weren’t deferring anything) and about $1 million more in commission to Excel given the deal is $22 million more minus deferrals (assuming a $5 million commission). %). So the estimated value of the Dodgers deal is about the same or slightly lower, for an extra year of play. Either way, at the very least, it looks like the hand was overplayed given Freeman’s apparent desire to stay in Georgia.
Excel, the second largest agency in the game and a huge success that has managed Derek Jeter, Goldschmidt, Kershaw, Zack Greinke and many other stars and has secured many excellent contracts (i.e. 206.5 million dollars for Greinke) is about to lose its second big player just after making big deals. Trevor Story left after his six-year, $140 million contract with the Red Sox. Even so, Excel would likely collect around $15 million in commissions on the two deals.