As the free agent signings and trades continue to occur during this abbreviated hot stove season, all eyes remain on Freddie Freeman as he decides which club he will commit to for the next half-plus decade.
Fans of the Dodgers are particularly excited, as the prospective addition of the five-time All-Star and three-time Silver Slugger could produce one of the most potent lineups in the majors.
Often, we see a guy like Freeman and automatically assume that he can improve a team’s daily lineup, regardless of the current components or chemistry. As far as the Dodgers go, there aren’t many holes, but Freeman would certainly be an upgrade.
If we look at some team stats from the 2021 regular season, the Dodgers finished right in the middle of the pack with a .244 average. However, an interesting stat I dug up on Baseball Reference showed the Dodgers finishing 28th of all 30 teams with a .193 average with runners in scoring position and two outs. As fans, we knew the team was bad, but to be in the bottom tenth of the majors in a critical category is a bit worrisome.
Nevertheless, in the era of the launch angle, the Dodgers still held their own in the power department with 237 long balls, good enough for fourth in the big leagues. They also finished fourth in the majors with 799 RBI, meaning that they still delivered the runs, just mostly with less than two out and few runners west of second base.
Regarding the lefty-hitting Freeman, he’s a career .295/.384/.509 hitter, but if we look at some of his splits, he has a lifetime slash line of .327/.447/.540 with RISP, which would be significantly beneficial for the Dodgers. In addition, while he’s not a southpaw smasher, he has a lifetime .784 OPS against opposing left-handed pitching, a number well-above the MLB standard.
So how would a lineup look with the addition of Freeman? Obviously, the Dodgers have a lot of moving parts — especially with that guy named Taylor — and skipper Dave Roberts loves matchups. But we could imagine an Opening Day lineup card something like this:
- Betts RF
- TTurner SS
- Freeman 1B
- Muncy DH
- JTurner 3B
- Bellinger CF
- WSmith C
- Pollock LF
- Taylor 2B
At the beginning of the weekend, there were several reports indicating that Freeman was nearing a decision, but as of early Sunday evening, there weren’t any rumblings abound suggesting he was close. There are, however, a few rumors that the Yankees have joined the Braves and the Dodgers as Freeman’s primary suitors.
The longer the ordeal stretches out, the more you wonder if Atlanta is putting together an offer that meets or exceeds the Dodgers’ proposal.