Los Angeles Dodgers’ Freddie Freeman fires agents who led offseason contract talks

When Freddie Freeman left the Atlanta Braves and ended up with the Los Angeles Dodgers, there was an industry shock because of Freeman’s long history with the Braves.

Now Freeman has fired Excel Sports Management agency, which represented him in his off-season negotiations, according to multiple sources. Casey Close, the lead agent in Freeman’s talks with the Braves and Dodgers, did not immediately respond to comment.

In a statement to MLB.com, Freeman acknowledged his status is “flowing” with his agent, but did not confirm the firing.

“Last weekend in Atlanta was a very emotional time for me and my family,” Freeman told MLB.com. “I’m working on some issues with my longtime agents at Excel. My representation remains a fluid situation and I will update as necessary.”

The MLB Players Association emailed agents Monday on behalf of Freeman, directing the agents not to contact the player. This is common practice when players don’t want to be besieged by agents. Freeman is listed on baseball’s Central System as currently self-representing.

Freeman, 32, returned to Atlanta for the first time since signing with the Dodgers last weekend and was outwardly emotional and at times crying since he first met with reporters before the three-game streak began until he von Braves received a standing ovation from fans towards the end of Sunday Night Baseball.

Sources say Freeman told some of his former teammates over the weekend that he was changing agents amid his frustration with how his free agency wrapped up in March.

The Braves made a five-year, $135 million offer that was still on the table in the first few days after the owners’ lockout ended. As reported in March, Close — Excel’s chief negotiator — contacted Alex Anthopoulos, the Braves’ head of baseball operations, and presented two proposals on Freeman’s behalf that were well above that $135 million offer, giving the team an hour gave answers. The Braves upped their offer to $140 million, which was nowhere near what Close had suggested.

When that deadline passed, sources said, Close and Anthopoulos agreed that there were no offers on the table. The Braves — who believed Close’s deadline meant Freeman was about to strike a deal with another team, likely the Dodgers, quickly pivoted to complete a blockbuster deal for Oakland Athletics All-Star Matt Olson , and signed 27-year-old Olson to an eight-year, $168 million deal. This effectively ended any chance that Freeman would return.

Freeman reached out to some of his former Braves teammates and expressed shock that his negotiations had gone the way they had. Within a week, Freeman had signed with the Dodgers for six years and $162 million, although the deal includes $57 million in deferred pay. That deal could end up being worth less than the total value of the Braves’ offer given the high deferrals and California state taxes.

Freeman initially criticized the Braves’ way of negotiating. Freeman then spoke to Anthopoulos about what happened during the talks and apparently made his peace with the organization. He fully embraced last weekend’s ceremonies, which included a ring presentation from his friend and former manager Brian Snitker; Snitker, seeing Freeman’s emotions, encouraged him to relax.

Friends of Freeman in the Braves organization believe his weekend-long emotions were to some degree coupled with lingering anger and sadness that his negotiations ended with him playing with a team other than the club that originally drafted him. Freeman has long been considered the face of the Braves franchise, winning an MVP award in 2020 and competing in the World Series championship last fall.

https://www.espn.com/mlb/story/_/id/34162315/sources-los-angeles-dodgers-freddie-freeman-fires-agents-led-offseason-contract-talks Los Angeles Dodgers’ Freddie Freeman fires agents who led offseason contract talks

Emma Bowman

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