It’s the Los Angeles Dodgers against the American League East for the services of Freddie Freeman.
MLB insider Jon Heyman reported on Tuesday that the Boston Red Sox have joined in the sweepstakes for the All-Star first baseman, joining the three other teams of the AL East — the New York Yankees, Tampa Bay Rays, and Toronto Blue Jays — along with the Los Angeles Dodgers.
The Dodgers have been an original team interested in Freeman, who shockingly will not return to the Atlanta Braves after they acquired another All-Star first baseman in Matt Olson from the Oakland Athletics on Monday.
The 32-year-old has spent each of his 12 pro seasons with the Braves, which featured five All-Star Game appearances, a Gold Glove Award, three Silver Sluggers, a 2020 National League MVP, a World Series ring, and a Fall Classic MVP in 2021.
But Freeman is reportedly looking for a six-year deal, and the Braves were unwilling to go that high, prompting them to give up four of their top 14 prospects for Olson.
Los Angeles has been a front-runner regardless of the Braves’ status considering Freeman hails from the area and adding the star lefty would round out one of the most imposing lineups Major League Baseball will see in 2022.
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The same goes for the Yankees, who are in desperate need of a left-handed slugger within their righty-heavy lineup. Freeman would feast off the short porch of Yankee Stadium while bolstering the position of need. It remains to be seen if owner Hal Steinbrenner will want to break the bank on him, however, considering he’s already paying the enormous contracts of Gerrit Cole and Giancarlo Stanton. He also has to pay Aaron Judge, who is up for a new deal after this season.
While the Yankee’s prospects continue to look slim, they are still in contact with Anthony Rizzo to fill the role of a left-handed bat to play first base.
Boston’s introduction into the Freeman race is understandable. Kyle Schwarber is likely signing elsewhere after an impressive half-season run with the team and Bobby Dalbec is the only first baseman listed on the roster.
In Toronto, bringing on Freeman would ensure the Blue Jays can give AL MVP runner-up Vladimir Guerrero Jr. plenty of time at the DH spot while adding to an already-promising core that is flush with stars like Bo Bichette and George Springer.
The most surprising team of the bunch, though, is the Rays — a team that operates like a small-market club that very rarely doles out big contracts. In fact, they just handed out their largest deal ever back in November when they secured young star Wander Franco to a 12-year, $185 million contract extension.
Freeman would call for a hefty payday with less term, but the Rays are likely making the realization that they have to make a splash if they want to keep up with the rest of the division, which is now reloading and looking to end their run of two-straight division titles.