Remember when the Dodgers retained David Freese on a one-year deal in November? As fate would have it – that signing kept Freese in the game of baseball – and from the throws of retirement.
Moreover, Freese spoke at FanFest over the weekend about how close he came to hanging up the cleats.
David Freese figured he might just retire if the Dodgers didn’t want him back. Why? “It was honestly great not to go into the market.”
MLB free agency isn’t broken, but it is a bummer. https://t.co/W5aMTMvYay
— Andy McCullough (@McCulloughTimes) January 28, 2019
There were initial questions as to why Freese’s pay was cut to $5 million for 2019. Light is shed on that situation here:
The interest coincided with a pair of desires for Freese. He wanted to stay in Los Angeles. And he sought to avoid the demeaning, depleting process that free agency has become. He figured he would prefer retirement to waiting until March for a new deal. So he let the Dodgers cut his pay to $5 million, and sounded thrilled with the outcome.
Furthermore, Freese stated that he felt relief to avoid the open market and return to Los Angeles for another year. Still, it appears that some frustration exists in the current free agent bargaining process, if you take Freese at his word.
“Data is laying it out there on how guys play, how they show up later on in these huge deals,” Freese said. “And I guess it’s just not panning out. So teams are just not going to throw that out there — especially if there aren’t more than a team or two fighting for a certain player. Especially if you’re in your 30s.”
Freese didn’t mix words. He doesn’t like the way baseball is headed in terms of short contracts for aging players. Equally important – if a veteran player like Freese feels strongly enough that organizations are being tight with purse strings – how many other veterans feel that way and retire early due to it?
“I don’t like it,” he said. “I don’t think it needs to be like that. We understand how much money is out there, and the question is: where is the fans’ money going?”
The game has seen a pendulum swing – and there’s no telling how far it will swing before it swings back. David Freese is just one cautionary tale that was so narrowly avoided.
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