Freddie Freeman Glad To Get Belated Call To Appear In All-Star Game

Freddie Freeman didn’t expect to be playing for Brian Snitker again. Especially so soon.

That’s what he told reporters gathered around his outdoor cubicle at Dodger Stadium Monday during All-Star Workout Day.

The Southern California native signed a six-year, $162 million contract with the Los Angeles Dodgers in March after running into a contractural snafu with the Atlanta Braves, the only team he had known during his 12-year career in the major leagues.

Freeman won a National League MVP award with the Braves, earned a World Series ring, and tied a club record with five post-season homers. But the 99-day lockout that wiped out the winter meetings and half of spring training also halted negotiations between teams and players.

When the lockout lifted, a shortened version of spring training was already underway.

But the Braves opened their camp without Freeman, who had been considered the Face of the Franchise since the retirement of Chipper Jones in 2012.

What happened next isn’t exactly clear – with different versions from different parties – but Freeman has fired Casey Close, his primary representative, and notified the Major League Baseball Players Association that he is now representing himself.

The Braves, desperate to find a first baseman and fill the left-handed power void created by Freeman’s likely departure, traded four prospects to the Oakland Athletics for Matt Olson, then signed him to an eight-year, $168 million deal a day later.

Freeman says he was blind-sided by the maneuver, which left him without a team.

He was also left without an All-Star team when the National League’s original 32-man roster was revealed. The only first basemen included were Paul Goldschmidt of the St. Louis Cardinals, Pete Alonso of the New York Mets, C.J. Cron of the Colorado Rockies, and honorary selectee Albert Pujols, completing his career with the Cardinals.

Omitting Freeman wasn’t a deliberate rebuke by Brian Snitker, manager of the NL All-Stars in the wake of his 2021 world championship with Atlanta. There are just too many players ahead of him – even though his .321 batting average ranks second in the National League.

Then an unexpected withdrawal by Starling Marte of the New York Mets created a need for another left-handed hitter and Freeman got the call.

He certainly put on a happy face the day before the 92nd All-Star Game. He smiled and laughed with the large contingent of writers, reporters, and broadcasters who surrounded his spot behind center field in the venerable ballpark.

For Freeman, who leads both leagues with 114 hits, it’s his fourth straight All-Star appearance and sixth overall. He is the sixth member of the Dodgers selected, tying the Atlanta Braves for the NL high.

Dodger Stadium last hosted the game in 1980, while the team also hosted once in the Los Angeles Coliseum and once in Ebbets Field, where the Brooklyn Dodgers played before moving to California for the 1958 season.