The Dodgers announced that they had pushed the deadline on the decision of whether to exercise David Freese’s option to Friday afternoon which is the same thing they did with Clayton Kershaw’s opt-out. Now we know why. The club announced that they have signed David Freese to a 4.5 million dollar contract for the 2019 season. The Dodgers actually declined Freese’s team option year and then signed him to the one-year deal. Apparently there was a 500,000 dollar buyout which guarantees Freese will receive 5 million dollars for the 2019 season.
As others have reported, the Dodgers have re-signed David Freese to a one-year deal, per sources. He'll get $5 million, including his $500k buyout from the $6 million team option the Dodgers declined.
— Jorge Castillo (@jorgecastillo) November 2, 2018
David Freese has agreed to go back to the #Dodgers on a 1-yr contract
— Joel Sherman (@Joelsherman1) November 2, 2018
I’m happy that the Dodgers are bringing Freese back. The 35-year old former World Series MVP was generally excellent for the Dodgers after they acquired him from the Pirates in a late August trade. Freese had to clear waivers first, and the Dodgers sent minor leaguer Jesus Valdez back to the Bucs to complete the trade back on August 31.
Freese slashed .385/.489/.641 (15 for 39) with two home runs and nine runs batted in over 47 plate appearances. Freese continued to provide terrific value to the Dodgers when he batted .417 (5 for 12) in the World Series against Boston which included a lead-off home run in game 5. Freese also hit a home run in the NLCS and was 8 for 22 in the postseason.
Overall Freese had a productive year. Between the Dodgers and Pirates he batted .296 with a .359 OBP, 11 home runs and 51 runs batted in. Freese posted an .830 OPS and a .911 OPS against left handers during the regular season. The Dodgers primarily utilized him against southpaws and as a late inning option off the bench. Freese batted .309 when leading off an inning.
The move makes sense on so many levels. Not only is Freese a solid player and proven postseason hero, but he is also able to spell Justin Turner at third, or be inserted at first base. Freese logged 55 games at the hot corner in 2018 and 29 games at first base. With Freese locked up, the next news should be Kershaw’s situation. The Dodgers and Kershaw have until 4 PM EST/1PM PST on Friday to make a decision.