The rich got considerably richer on Wednesday when first baseman Freddie Freeman, a former league most valuable player who led Atlanta to its shocking World Series title last season, agreed to sign with his hometown Los Angeles Dodgers.
Freeman, 32, will receive $162 million over six years in a deal that was confirmed by a person familiar with the negotiations who was not authorized to discuss it publicly because it had not been finalized.
When the off-season started, it seemed like a return to Atlanta was a foregone conclusion for Freeman, a second-round draft pick of the team in 2007 who came up through its minor league system. He had been the team’s face and leader, through thick and thin, since becoming an everyday player in 2011. His home run in the Series-clinching Game 6 served as an exclamation point on his tenure in Atlanta. In 12 seasons, he hit .295 with a .384 on-base percentage, 271 home runs and 941 runs batted in.
Born in Villa Park, Calif., and a product of El Modena High School in Orange, Freeman will take over at first base for the Dodgers. His arrival will most likely shift Max Muncy to second base and allow Trea Turner, who closed the season as a second baseman, to move to shortstop in place of Corey Seager, who departed as a free agent.
In 2021, the Dodgers won 106 games, second most in the majors, but ultimately lost to Freeman and Atlanta in the National League Championship Series. Freeman homered twice in that series and finished the postseason with a .304 average, five home runs and 11 R.B.I.
Atlanta had tried to negotiate a deal to keep Freeman. But the team had moved on before this signing, trading for Matt Olson, formerly of the Oakland Athletics, to an eight-year, $168 extension. Like Freeman, Olson, who grew up in suburban Atlanta, joined his hometown team.
Tyler Kepner contributed reporting.