Dodgers’ Freddie Freeman set to change agent after ‘very emotional’ return to face Braves

Dodgers’ Freddie Freeman set to change agent after ‘very emotional’ return to face Braves

Los Angeles Dodgers first baseman Freddie Freeman will no longer be represented by Excel Sports Management, according to ESPN’s Buster Olney. Freeman, now listed internally as his own agent, reportedly told friends he was angry at the way his free agency went last winter when he left Atlanta for the West Coast after the Braves acquired Matt Olson in a trade with the Oakland Athletics.

Freeman had previously spent his entire career with the Braves, with whom he won a World Series last fall. He made the following statement to Mark Bowman of MLB.com:

Last weekend in Atlanta was a very emotional time for me and my family. I’m working on some issues with my long-time agents at Excel. My representation remains a fluid situation and I will update as necessary.

Freeman met with reporters before the Dodgers’ game against the Rockies on Tuesday night. He did not elaborate on the situation, but said he learned more about it. “because he spoke to the other side.”

Freeman’s annoyance with his portrayal may stem from the apparent ultimatum Excel presented to the Braves days before Olson’s trade ended. Here’s the backstory on that, courtesy of Bowman:

As the days, weeks and months of the offseason passed, Freeman assumed he would eventually end up with the Braves. He maintained this thought until the evening of March 12. It was the night Close reached out to Braves president of baseball operations Alex Anthopoulos, made two requests that far exceeded Freeman’s expectations, and said the Braves had an hour to respond.

Freeman’s agents maintain that was not an ultimatum. But Freeman certainly felt like it was. When he received an update that evening, he returned to his son’s birthday party and was in shock as he told his father and wife that he no longer thought that he was a Brave.

Freeman then signed a six-year contract with the Dodgers worth $162 million. He had no trouble adjusting to his new on-field environment, as he entered Tuesday with .304/.388/.488 (141 OPS+) with eight homers and 26 more extra hits.

Off the court, however, the past week has been emotional for Freeman. He made his return to Truist Park last Friday for the first time since signing with the Dodgers, and he had to leave his reintroduction press conference after cracking down. He would come back and say the following: “I was doing pretty well about an hour ago. I still love the Braves organization with all my heart. That’s never going to change.”

In an unusual twist, Dodgers teammate Clayton Kershaw made a comment that could be taken to imply that Freeman has remained too attached to his old organization: “He’s obviously been a big contributor to our team. And hopefully that we’re not second fiddles. It’s a pretty special team here too. I think whenever he feels comfortable here, he’ll really appreciate it. (Kershaw declined to elaborate) , according to The Athletic.)

The Braves, for their part, signed Olson to an eight-year, $168 million extension on March 15. Freeman signed his pact with the Dodgers on March 18.

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