It was just recently that Los Angeles Dodgers star first baseman Freddie Freeman returned to Atlanta where he had been a member of the Braves’ organization for the past 15 years.
After leading Atlanta to the World Series title last year, Freeman was rightfully emotional as fans inside Truist Park gave him a standing ovation.
Surprisingly, news then broke on Tuesday that Freeman had fired his agent over at Excel Agency, Casey Close. It was a pretty big departure after Close negotiated Freeman’s six-year, $162 million contract with Los Angeles ahead of the 2022 season.
We now have more information on this via Doug Gottlieb of Fox Sports Radio who reports that Close never told Freeman about a final contract offer from the Braves before he signed with Los Angeles back in March.
There’s certainly a lot of moving parts to this. We knew something had to be up the minute Freeman fired his agent mere months after collecting a huge contract from the Dodgers. Whether there’s more information to back up this claim remains to be seen.
Freddie Freeman situation raises eyebrows
It was back on Monday evening that the MLBPA sent an email to agents ordering them not to solicit Freeman’s business. This is a pretty big exception to the rule given how high-value adding someone like Freeman as a client would be.
As for Casey Close, Excel Agency has refused to release a statement following Freeman’s decision to fire the firm. Remember, he negotiated his initial eight-year, $135 million extension with Atlanta back in February of 2014. It was a longstanding relationship.
The National League MVP back in 2020, Freeman had stated multiple times in the past that he wanted to spend his entire career in Atlanta.
That changed when things seemed to trend in the direction of a divorce with the Braves acquiring Matt Olson in a blockbuster trade with the Oakland Athletics. Atlanta maintains that it was a foregone conclusion Freeman was leaving in free agency. As for the five-time All-Star, he claims the Olson trade led to his departure.
Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic previous reported that Atlanta offered Freeman a six-year deal valued at $135 million after reports of Close’s firing became public record. He also raised an important point.
“The agency ultimately secured a sixth guaranteed year from the Dodgers, but to what end? Freeman’s $162 million deal, considering higher tax rates in California and deferred payments in the contract, might be comparable in net value to the $135 million the Braves are known to have offered. And according to sources, one of Freeman’s motivations for leaving Excel would be to prevent the agency from trumpeting his deal as its latest triumph.”Report on Freddie Freeman situation, via Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic
It also must be noted that new Boston Red Sox star infielder Trevor Story switched agencies from Excel back in the end of April — weeks after it helped him net a six-year, $140 million contract.
Excel currently represents the likes of Paul Goldschmidt, Clayton Kershaw, Kyle Schwarber, George Springer and Dansby Swanson.