In the latest twist to the saga surrounding Los Angeles Dodgers first baseman Freddie Freeman, the five-time All-Star’s former agent accused the Atlanta Braves of presenting a false narrative when it comes to the characterization of offseason contract negotiations.
Freeman’s former agent, Casey Close, released a statement through multiple media outlets Thursday that suggests his professional integrity has falsely come into question.
“I will not stand by as the circumstances surrounding Freddie Freeman’s departure from Atlanta are mischaracterized,” Close said in his statement. Since March, the Braves have fostered a narrative about negotiations which, stated plainly, is false.”
Freeman fired Close and the Excel Agency on Tuesday, shortly after a weekend series at Atlanta between the Dodgers and his former club, the Braves. Reports indicated that Freeman met with members of the Braves front office during the weekend, where his departure from the organization after 15 years was discussed.
Freeman had originally been critical of the Braves after signing a $162 million contract with the Dodgers this spring. Instead of re-signing Freeman, the Braves filled their first-base spot in a trade with the Oakland Athletics for Matt Olson. Freeman expressed surprise over the move, at the time.
According to a FoxSports Radio report Wednesday, Close was alleged to have never told Freeman about a final contract offer from the Braves. Close later denied that report and said he was “evaluating all legal options.” Freeman declined to comment on Wednesday’s revelations.
“Part of (the Braves’) false narrative is the suggestion that I did not communicate a contract offer to the Freemans,” Close’s Thursday statement read. “To be clear, we communicated every offer that was made, as well as every communication Excel had with the Braves organization throughout the entire process.
“I have a 30-year reputation in the business for integrity and honesty, and I have always operated with the utmost character. At Excel, we are privileged to represent many exemplary athletes, some of whom have chosen to spend their entire career with one franchise.”
Freeman helped the Braves to the 2021 World Series title and was a .295 hitter in 12 major league seasons at Atlanta, including 271 home runs and 941 RBIs in 1,565 games. He also was National League MVP in 2020.
In his first season with the Dodgers, the 32-year-old Southern California native is batting .308 with nine home runs and 47 RBIs in 74 games. Despite the drama and emotions of the last week, Freeman was batting .407 with four home runs and 13 RBIs during a 13-game hitting streak, heading into Thursday’s home contest against the San Diego Padres.
–Field Level Media