Freddie Freeman, a Southern California native, has called Atlanta home for the past 12 seasons. So it’s only fitting that the 32-year-old’s new home just happens to be his old one.
Freeman is set to join the Los Angeles Dodgers ahead of the 2022 season. The five-time All-Star is coming to LA after a successful 12-year run with the Atlanta Braves that culminated with a World Series title.
It’s not like the Dodgers needed Freeman. LA has won the National League in three of the last five seasons and secured the title in 2020, its first since 1988. However, the superstar slugger completes a loaded lineup that has an impressive collection of All-Stars.
Freddie Freeman contract is a drop in the bucket for the loaded Dodgers
It’s hard to believe, but the Dodgers weren’t having the best offseason prior to the 99-day lockout. After winning 106 games in 2021 and falling to Freeman’s Braves in the NLCS, LA lost ace Max Scherzer and shortstop Corey Seager to the New York Mets and Texas Rangers, respectively. Closer Kenley Jansen also remains unsigned on the eve of Spring Training games.
Yet despite the losses, the Dodgers’ payroll is one of the highest in baseball. And it just grew even more with the addition of Freeman.
Freddie Freeman’s contract is reportedly worth $162 million over six years. His $27 million average annual value is the second-highest ever among all first basemen, trailing the Detroit Tigers’ Miguel Cabrera ($31 million). It’s also the seventh-highest contract for any 1B in terms of total money.
While it’s currently unclear how the cash will be spread out over six seasons, he’ll presumably be the fourth Dodger earning $20 million or more in ’22. Both RF Mookie Betts ($22.5 million) and 3B Justin ($20 million) are among the highest-paid, while controversial SP Trevor Bauer ($35.3 million) leads the pack.
Before Freeman, LA’s payroll was sitting at $231.4 million, just ahead of this season’s $230 million Competitive Balance Tax (CBT) line. Adding the slugger’s new deal would then push that number to about $258 million, give or take a few dollars, placing them above the high-spending Mets at $249 million.
The Los Angeles Dodgers lineup features an incredible amount of All-Stars
Freeman has been one of the most consistent hitters in MLB. The Orange, CA native hit .300 with 31 home runs and scored a league-high 120 runs in 2021. The year before, he hit .341 in a shortened 60-game season and won his first NL MVP.
In other words, he’ll fit right in with a Dodgers lineup that has an embarrasing collection of riches.
With Freeman locked in as the team’s first baseman over the next half-decade, here is the Dodgers’ projected 2022 lineup:
- RF Mookie Betts (5x All-Star, 1x MVP)
- SS Trea Turner (1x All-Star)
- 1B Freddie Freeman (5x All-Star, 1x MVP)
- 3B Justin Turner (2x All-Star)
- DH Max Muncy (2x All-Star)
- C Will Smith
- CF Cody Bellinger (2x All-Star, 1x MVP)
- LF AJ Pollock (1x All-Star)
- 2B Chris Taylor (1x All-Star)
That lineup features a total of 19 All-Star appearances and three MVP awards. And that’s not even counting a starting pitching staff that also features 11 ASG nods and four Cy Youngs (Admittedly, Clayton Kershaw makes up eight All-Star appearances and three Cy Youngs himself).
From top to bottom, LA’s new lineup has no weaknesses. And it has the accolades to back it up.
Freddie Freeman’s Dodgers are now clear World Series favorites
Considering a prolonged run of success, a Freeman-less Dodgers squad would have still been a near-lock to make its 10th consecutive postseason. But with the new bat in the heart of the order, it’s World Series or bust.
According to FanDuel Sportsbook, LA is the clear favorite to win it all at +550. The Houston Astros, last year’s runner-up, has the next-best odds at +1000. Meanwhile, the defending champion Braves are still +1300 despite losing Freeman to their NL foe.
While it may not feel like it, this also might be LA’s last chance to go all in. Trea Turner is a free agent at the end of this season, while Justin Turner, Bellinger, Pollock, and Muncy are all free agents after 2023. It helps that LA has seemingly endless amounts of cash on hand, but the players surrounding Freeman and Betts could look very different in a year or two.
For now, enjoy this All-Star-heavy lineup. We might not see something close to it for a long time.