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The Los Angeles Dodgers hang obtained on the least 100 games in three of the final 5 seasons, and now their lineup capabilities yet one other MVP winner who also happens to be one of baseball's most consistently valuable hitters.
Which is to speak: Yeah, Freddie Freeman is a fair match for them.
The Dodgers agreed to terms with the 32-year-ancient Wednesday evening on a six-year contract that might per chance reportedly pay him $162 million through his age-37 season in 2027, per MLB.com.
After spending the predominant 15 years of his decent profession in the Atlanta organization, Freeman gets to creep dwelling. He used to be technically partial to the Los Angeles Angels while increasing up in Orange, California, nonetheless a Twitter change between him and the Dodgers from 2013 suggests he harbors no laborious emotions for the Boys in Blue.
Of direction, his new contract does as successfully.
It presumably wasn't correct the money and the homecoming replacement that drew Freeman to the Dodgers, nonetheless also the likelihood to ride the identical do of glory he enjoyed in his final season with Atlanta in 2021. He followed his MVP-winning marketing campaign from 2020 with yet one other racy effort, culminating in his exclamation level on the membership's World Sequence victory.
Despite the indisputable truth that all indicators regarded as if it might per chance per chance per chance presumably maybe presumably level toward Atlanta and Freeman reuniting in free company, it instant grew to became obvious that the membership didn't must construct a six-year deal. Rather than abet off, Atlanta pivoted by trading for and lengthening space native Matt Olson.
Despite the indisputable truth that that used to be a switch for a younger and potentially correct as fair first baseman, the Dodgers can aloof rightfully look Atlanta's loss and their fabricate.
The Dodgers Obtained a Honest One
Attach for per chance "Citizen Kane is a fair film, if truth be told," there certainly might per chance presumably maybe presumably now not be a extra lukewarm desire than "Freddie Freeman is solely, if truth be told."
He's had few missteps at some level of his 12-year MLB profession, and in total none since he made the leap to stardom as a 23-year-ancient in 2013. The final 9 seasons hang considered him publish a .302/.394/.523 sever line with a 162-sport moderate of 30 dwelling runs. By OPS+, he's the supreme participant to be extra than 30 p.c better than the moderate hitter yearly on this span.
Oh, and also to being an MVP and a World Sequence winner, he will most certainly be a 5-time All-Superstar, three-time Silver Slugger and a Gold Glover.
Granted, the mammoth unknown—i.e., the one who seemingly timid Atlanta off a six-year deal—is how Freeman will age.
As I've beforehand talked about, there might per chance be no scarcity of precedents for a predominant baseman performing cherish a superstar through age 31 finest to then descend off a cliff. The scariest instance is Albert Pujols, who fair by no blueprint resembled the star he had been for the St. Louis Cardinals after signing a 10-year, $240 million contract with the Angels in 2011.
I also talked about, nonetheless, that Freeman is devoid of purple flags the likes of which Pujols had then.
Despite the indisputable truth that his numbers did desire a dive in 2021 relative to 2020, when he hit .341/.462/.640 in the shortened season, his final .300/.393/.503 sever line used to be very valuable in theme alongside with his overall represent since 2013. Right here is even supposing he came in below each and every his .320 anticipated batting moderate and .583 anticipated slugging share.
There correct is now not if truth be told hundreds that Freeman would not construct successfully in the field. He takes his walks and avoids strikeouts. His swing is geared to abet the ball off the ground, nonetheless correct as valuable for single-pleasant line drives as extra-unfavorable-hit-pleasant skedaddle balls. He will most certainly be better than most left-handed hitters at beating the shift, hitting .339 against it for his profession.
Attain 2023, Freeman seemingly might per chance presumably maybe presumably moreover now not even must agonize about the shift anymore. He also has the universal designated hitter to wait for, as it figures to desire him off his toes on occasion in 2022 and potentially extra veritably thereafter.
It be all goal sufficient to imagine that the Dodgers will gain their money's price out of Freeman. So, in preference to cherish Pujols, he can age cherish Frank Thomas, Jim Thome or Joey Votto.
Ye Gods, That Lineup
Freeman is now not if truth be told so valuable augmenting the Dodgers lineup as he's finishing it. It might per chance per chance per chance presumably maybe be his job to contain the pickle vacated by superstar shortstop Corey Seager, who departed for the Texas Rangers on a 10-year, $325 million deal in December.
That is, now not the pickle Seager occupied in the field nonetheless rather in the course of Los Angeles' projected batting uncover:
Those are all recognizable names which hang accolades to test. Mookie Betts used to be the American League MVP in 2018 and Cody Bellinger used to be the National League MVP in 2019. Of the opposite six regulars, finest Will Smith has yet to be an All-Superstar. And he's the finest-hitting catcher in MLB.
But again turning to OPS+, there is now not if truth be told one hitter on this starting up 9 who's been the leisure end to below moderate staunch during the final three seasons:
Info courtesy of Baseball Reference.
On moderate, you are a 129 OPS+. The Dodgers' World Sequence-winning team from 2020 "finest" had a 119 OPS+. If the leisure, that first quantity is extra harking abet to the literal 1927 Novel York Yankees, who were paced by Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig to a 127 OPS+.
The Dodgers' starting up 9 might per chance presumably maybe presumably moreover now not yarn for every person of the team's at-bats in 2022. Injuries will happen. So are days off, in which cases this might per chance per chance presumably maybe be the following man up.
Nonetheless, even the team's depth pieces must abet the machine buzzing. Matt Beaty had a 107 OPS+ final year. Hanser Alberto is a bat-to-ball man who hit over .300 in 2019. That identical season, fellow utility man Gavin Lux used to be Baseball The united states's Minor League Participant of the Year after ripping off a .347/.421/.607 line in the excessive minors.
There's also the likelihood of some of the Dodgers' regulars doing better than even their baseline performances over the final three years. That especially applies to Betts and Bellinger. The dilapidated led the majors in moderate and slugging as only in the near previous as 2018, while the latter had a 167 OPS+ and led the NL in complete bases in 2019.
Even though the 2022 Dodgers construct now not give the 1927 Yankees a bustle for their money, they might per chance maybe presumably maybe presumably moreover on the least be a most recent-day scare similar to the Houston Astros, who lead the majors in moderate, on-unfavorable, slugging, OPS+ and runs scored since 2017.
World Sequence or Bust
Every team has probably pitfalls, and that's the reason no varied even with this stacked Dodgers squad.
Within the lineup, it be imaginable 2022 will most certainly be no more uncomplicated than 2021 used to be for Betts and Bellinger as every struggled to abet their numbers up despite assorted aches and anguish. At 37, Justin Turner is on the ancient facet. Despite the indisputable truth that he expects to be ready for Opening Day on April 8, Max Muncy would not depend on to be totally recovered from the torn UCL in his left elbow except next year.
On the opposite facet of the ball, the Dodgers retained 2014 NL MVP Clayton Kershaw nonetheless misplaced fellow three-time Cy Younger Award winner Max Scherzer to free company. They modified him with Andrew Heaney, who might per chance presumably maybe presumably be charitably described as "a project."
There's also a Kenley Jansen-sized hole in Los Angeles' bullpen. Even though Blake Treinen does successfully in his stead in the ninth inning, the leisure corps as a complete might per chance presumably maybe presumably be weaker.
Despite all this, the Dodgers are aloof projected by FanGraphs to be the finest team in baseball. They're slated (seemingly conservatively) for 98 wins, as well to an 81 p.c likelihood to address end the NL West and an 18 p.c likelihood to address end their 2nd World Sequence in three years.
Would the Dodgers aloof hang projected successfully without Freeman? Fully. Correct now not this successfully. Therefore why he's certainly a Dodger.
So, all Freeman and the Dodgers must construct now is nothing that either occasion hasn't executed before: Wander address end some games.
Stats courtesy of Baseball Reference, FanGraphs and Baseball Savant.