How Freddy Freeman and Kenley Jansen switch teams

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San Diego – The first All-Star guy who desperately wanted to stay in Atlanta is in Los Angeles.

An All-Star Closer who wanted to stay in Los Angeles is located in Atlanta.

Another first baseman on the All-Star team, whose trade from Oakland to Atlanta sparked this chain reaction, is thrilled that he and his wife had the opportunity to return to their hometown as part of a long-term deal.

Baseball’s business can be wildly unpredictable, unbiased, and soulless, but it rarely turns into a three-way, direct-impact collision over five days as it did with Freddy Freeman, Kenley Jansen and Matt Olson in Half of March. . Aftershocks will be shown in full starting Monday night at Dodger Stadium with the season’s inaugural rematch Last Fall’s National League Championship Series Between Los Angeles and Atlanta.

“I can’t believe he’s elusive and not brave,” Los Angeles manager Dave Roberts said of Freeman one afternoon toward the end of spring training, two weeks after the veteran put on his new uniform for the first time.

“We naively expected him to end up in Atlanta,” said Andrew Friedman, head of baseball operations. “Obviously our interest was real. But the likelihood of that happening, in our minds, was very slim.

Freeman, 32, is a five-time All-Star, a 2020 NL Most Valuable Player and a veteran of 13 years. He broke out with Atlanta in 2010, became the face of the franchise over the next decade, and was beloved by the team’s fans. He thought he would be brave for life. One of his older brothers, Andrew, was even moved to the Atlanta area of ​​Mexico on his job at Honeywell to be closer to Freddy. His half-sister, Diana, moved there for the same reason.

“It was one of those places to go, and I thought it would be fun,” said Freddy’s father, Freddy. “Now she’s having dinner with my eldest son instead of Freddy.”

The roots were deep. But Freeman’s free agency after the World Championships in Atlanta brought uncertainty, and 99 Days MLB Insurance That stretched from December to March brought darkness.

When the business rebounded and the lights returned, Atlanta stunned Freeman and the rest of baseball by instantly acquiring Olson, who was playing in the same position, from Oakland on the first Monday of spring training. A flashing neon sign that the Braves had unexpectedly cut ties with Freeman.

“It changed the landscape, and we felt there was a real opportunity to make that happen,” Friedman said of his team’s pursuit of Freeman.

Two days later, in fact, the Dodgers signed Freeman, who grew up a few pop flies away from Dodger Stadium in Orange County, California, giving him a six-year, $162 million contract that Atlanta was reluctant to offer.

Two days later, the Braves signed Jansen, 34, whose 350 early season goalscorer ranked 13th of all time, for a one-year deal worth $16 million.

“I’d never say I want to go back to L.A.; I’m going to go where I feel like I want to,” Jansen said during a weekend interview in San Diego, before adding, “This bruise will be in my blood for the rest of my life.” Everywhere I go people tell me I’m a dodger. It’s only the commercial side. It didn’t work out for both of us for obvious reasons. We both tried really hard, but it didn’t happen.

If Jansen had waited a few more days for things to settle in L.A., chances are he could have stayed with the only baseball organization he knows. But as soon as he was signed, the Dodgers moved through the trade to get the closest new location, Craig Kimberl.

“I’ve already waited,” Jansen said. “I can’t wait a moment. At some point, will other teams take you seriously or not? Sometimes in life, you have to look at it this way: When a good opportunity arises, will you miss it? Or will you take it?”

Meanwhile, Freeman may have been willing to sign with Atlanta for less than what he got from the Dodgers. But when I close that door, it closes forever. During his introductory press conference with the Dodgers that week, Freeman strongly implicit That the tears shed by Alex Anthopoulos, head of baseball operations in Atlanta, while discussing his departure were false.

“Everything is comfortable now,” Freeman said in an occasionally succinct interview in late spring. “I’m just impatient now.”

The Dodgers understand his emotional wounds and the team does everything they can to make him feel at home beyond what this $162 million deal alone does.

“Every day it gets easier for him to realize he’s not with the Braves anymore,” Roberts said, adding, “There is a business side to things and some things are beyond a guy’s control. Player Freddy took the high road.”

His Atlanta relationships could change forever — in a tense string of recent interviews, Atlanta’s Ronald Acuña Jr. expressed his happiness at Freeman’s departure before saying his words had been misinterpreted — but Freeman is looking forward to visiting his former teammates. This week at Dodger Stadium.

“It would be great,” Freeman said. “I can’t wait. Oh yeah. I can see all the guys I won a championship with last year. We’re connected forever. I can’t wait to be there.

Now, however, he is tasked with snatching the NL title from them. In Los Angeles, Freeman is part of an enviable roster that includes four MVP winners: Freeman, Clayton Kershaw, Mocky Bates and Cody Bellinger. “It will help us win the championship,” Roberts said, and at the very least, the competing shooters will need some nerve of steel.

As for their unexpected relationship during the Spring Deal series, Freeman said he didn’t know Olson “at all” and neither did Jansen. Jansen said he knows Freeman well enough to say hi and “that’s it.”

Before Freeman or Janssen figured out where they could go, the brawlers working fast with Olson signed an eight-year, $168 million contract extension after just 24 hours of trading in his favour.

“It was as if the stars were aligned,” Olson said. “It was the perfect storm. To be fortunate enough to have a long-term option in the city I grew up in, joining the World Championships was a very easy choice for me and my wife.

He said his new teammates were welcoming of him, and when he returned to Atlanta for the season opener, he said he didn’t feel cold from the angry fans. by Freeman.

“I was pleasantly surprised how that happened,” Olson said.

It was also a kind of homecoming for Jansen. The Braves grew up in Curacao, and Janssen’s team was due to Atlanta center back Andrew Jones. Jansen said he’s happy to play alongside fellow countryman Ozzy Albis, and his warm smile is familiar, even if it’s not his new uniform, at least not yet.

“He’s a huge part of this team,” said manager Brian Snicker. “You won’t know he hasn’t been here for five or six years when you see him at the club.”

Closer said Jansen, his wife Gianni, and their three children would go on to make the Los Angeles area their permanent home. For now, try not to think too much about the return of the early season this week. But he’s happy to get rid of it ASAP.

“When the time comes, I’ll probably get emotional,” he said. “I have to make sure I control it.”

For much of the past decade, displayed above his wardrobe at the Dodgers Club was the California state flag, modified to “Kenley-Fornia.” He said he would now go to his home gym “to commemorate”.

When old ways end and new beginnings begin, some memories can be sweet.

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