On Friday, Freddie Freeman was in tears on his first trip to Atlanta as a visiting player.
On Tuesday, he reportedly fired the agents overseeing his offseason departure from the Braves to the Los Angeles Dodgers. ESPN’s Buster Olney reports: that the first baseman has severed ties with Excel Sports Management, which failed to reach an agreement with the Braves before Freeman signed as a free agent with the Dodgers. According to Olney, Freeman is “upset about the way his negotiations for a free agent have gone.”
After the report, Freeman described his representation as a “fluid” situation in a statement to Mark Bowman of MLB.com†
“Last weekend in Atlanta was a very emotional time for me and my family,” Freeman said. “I am working on some issues with my old agents at Excel. My representation remains a fluid situation and I will update if necessary.”
Bowman confirmed that Freeman has filed paperwork to end his relationship with Excel Sports, while he did not confirm that the agency had formally terminated.
Would Freeman rather play for the Braves?
Until his off-season departure, Freeman was the face of the Braves franchise that selected him in the second round of the 2007 MLB draft† Freeman made his big league debut with the Braves in 2010 and played 12 seasons in Atlanta, earning five All-Star bids and the 2020 NL MVP award. He helped the Braves to their first World Series win since 1995 last season.
Freeman entered the off-season as a free agent, where talks with the Braves broke down. The Braves Freeman reportedly offered $135 million over five years shortly after the end of the off-season lockout. Per Olney, Freeman’s Chief Agent Casey Close responded with a “significantly higher” counter-offer. Atlanta reportedly responded by increasing the offer to $140 million.
A deadline reportedly set by Excel passed and the Braves moved on by trading Oakland A’s first baseman Matt Olson and signing him for an eight-year extension, $168 million† The next day, Freeman signed a six-year deal for $162 million with the Dodgers that includes $57 million in deferred pay. According to Olney, the deferred money combined with higher California taxes could ultimately cost Freeman less than Braves’ bid.
Freeman’s Emotional Return to Atlanta
Meanwhile, Freeman has strong feelings for the only franchise he played for before joining Los Angeles. He fought tears for all 16 minutes from his pregame press conference on Friday after the Dodgers traveled to Atlanta for a three-game run. His emotions continued to show as Braves manager Brian Snitker presented him with his World Series ring alongside a chorus of “Freddie, Freddie, Freddie” from the sold-out Truist Field stands.
According to the Los Angeles TimesFreeman said Tuesday he isn’t worried about people thinking he wishes he was still an Atlanta Brave.
“That time is over,” Freeman said. “I’m a Los Angeles Dodger now. If they want to see me, how I feel about an organization I’ve spent half my life with, they want to see me like this. That’s fine. I’m fine with it.
“But I’ve had three months. I’ve had time to grieve and do all my research and gather information. It’s time to move on and focus on the Dodgers. And that’s what I’m going to continue to do. “