Freeman, 32, reached free agency for the first time in his career after helping the Atlanta Braves win their first World Series since 1995 with a six-game triumph over the Houston Astros. During his 12th big league season, the first baseman hit .300 (eighth in the National League), with 31 homers, 83 RBIs and an NL-leading 120 runs.
Freeman’s deal has the second-highest average annual value ($27 million) ever for a first baseman (behind Miguel Cabrera‘s eight-year deal with the Detroit Tigers that has an annual average value of $31 million) and it is the seventh-richest by total value at the position.
The Dodgers now have given out a $100 million contract in three straight years, following massive deals for Mookie Betts in 2020 and Trevor Bauer in 2021. Freeman is the first infielder (and seventh player overall) to receive a $100 million deal from the Dodgers.
However, the spending gives the Dodgers four former MVPS in Freeman, Betts, Cody Bellinger and Clayton Kershaw. They also add Freeman’s bat to a lineup that led the NL with 5.1 runs per game last season.
The Dodgers’ projected top three hitters — Betts, Freeman and Trea Turner — have three of the six best odds to win NL MVP at Caesars Sportsbook. And L.A. was already the betting favorite to win the World Series with 6-1 odds entering Wednesday; the odds dropped to 5-1 following word of Freeman’s agreement.
That Freeman reached free agency was a bit of a surprise for a player long lauded as the face of the Atlanta franchise. The Braves anointed him as such, inking him to an eight-year, $135 million extension in 2014 to serve as the franchise’s cornerstone player through a rebuild.
Atlanta lost 90 or more games for three straight seasons before emerging as a contender in 2018. With Freeman leading the way, the Braves have since won four straight NL East titles, culminating in last season’s championship.
After the World Series, Freeman’s contract expired and he was extended a qualifying offer ($18.4 million) by the Braves. As expected, Freeman rejected that offer and became a free agent.
Freeman hit free agency with one of the most sparkling résumés in the game. He’s a .295 career hitter, with 271 homers among his 1,704 career hits. The hits and homers both rank among the top 10 career marks in Braves history. Only Chipper Jones and Dale Murphy have collected more hits for the Braves since the franchise moved to Atlanta in 1966.
Freeman has made five NL All-Star teams, won a Gold Glove in 2018, won a Silver Slugger award at first base for the NL in each of the past three seasons and finished in the top 10 of NL MVP balloting six times. In 2020, Freeman was named NL MVP after hitting a career-best .341 during the pandemic-shortened campaign.
The Braves selected Freeman in the second round of the 2007 draft. He was born and raised in Southern California, though because his parents were both born in Canada, he has dual citizenship.
ESPN’s Bradford Doolittle contributed to this report.