Freddie Freeman has reportedly filed paperwork to end his relationship with his longtime agents at Excel Sports Management, saying in a statement that his “representation remains a fluid situation,” barely three months after signing a $162 million six-year contract with the Dodgers. .
Earlier Tuesday afternoon, ESPN reported that Freeman was planning to change representation.
According to a knowledgeable person who was not authorized to speak at the record, the MLB Players Assn. sent an email to all agents asking them not to contact Freeman, a procedure that usually takes place after a player changes representation.
In his statement, which was provided to MLB.comFreeman said he is “fixing some issues with my old agents at Excel” and will “update” [the situation] If necessary.”
The move was the latest sign that Freeman was seemingly unhappy with the way his free agency was unfolding for the season, as the longtime Atlanta Braves star failed to sign a new contract with his old team, despite his publicly outspoken wish to stay in Atlanta.
Entering the off-season, the industry expected Freeman to re-sign with the Braves. Even the Dodgers, who quietly courted him for the 99-day ban from MLB, weren’t initially optimistic about luring the former most valuable player away.
But when free agency resumed after the lockout ended in March, negotiations between the Braves and Freeman’s camp quickly fell apart.
At the heart of the fallout was a reported March 12 deadline that Freeman’s agents at Excel gave the Braves. According to at the time an ESPN reportthe Braves had been offered a five-year, $140 million deal, to which Freeman’s agents responded with two counter-offers, one for five years and another for six years, both for significantly more money.
The two sides failed to find a middle ground. And two days later, the Braves acquired All-Star first baseman Matt Olson from the Oakland Athletics, effectively eliminating the chance of Freeman returning to the only club he had ever played for.
After sign with the Dodgers on March 16 — in a deal that included $57 million in deferred payments, giving it a current value of just over $148 million — Freeman expressed his displeasure with the Braves during his introductory press conference with the Dodgers.
He said he was “blindsided” by the trade with Olson, and up until that point, he maintained that he still believed he would return to Atlanta.
He noted that Braves Brass only contacted him directly twice throughout the process, lamenting that “communication was not there as we went through the off-season.”
He even seemed to doubt the sincerity of Braves general manager Alex Anthopoulos’s tearful comments earlier that week about the apparent loss of the franchise’s first baseman.
“The past week has been a bit of a whirlwind,” Freeman said at the time. “But I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else now.”
However, in the three months since, Freeman’s view of his free agency process seems to have changed.
He had a three-hour FaceTime conversation with Anthopoulos in which “he said his side and I listened,” Freeman said. “And that was the closure I needed.”
He spoke glowingly of his time with the Braves during a… emotional return to Atlanta last weekendcrying several times at the reception he got from his old club.
And while he didn’t give many details as he reflected on his free agency, his attitude toward the Braves seemed to have softened since the spring—while his discontent with his agents apparently skyrocketed.
“I know a lot of people don’t know exactly what happened, and I’m not going to put it in quotes and the media, I’m just not here to do those PR stuff,” he said. “I spoke to the people I needed to talk to after everything went wrong. My wife and I are at peace. Thinking about the past will only affect your happiness in the present and future. We started working on that.”
Freeman added: “Can’t change what happened. All you can do is learn from your experiences. And I certainly learned a lot.”
This story originally appeared in Los Angeles Times†