The Dodgers and infielder David Freese have agreed to a one-year contract worth $4.5 million according to people with knowledge of the situation. The Dodgers will pay Freese an additional $500,000 for buying out his previous contract.
Los Angeles originally had until 9 p.m. Wednesday to exercise Freese’s $6 million team option for next season, but the two sides agreed to extend the deadline to Friday at 1 p.m. The contract was agreed upon Thursday afternoon. In the end, the Dodgers saved $1 million.
The Dodgers acquired Freese from the Pittsburgh Pirates at the waiver trade deadline on Aug. 31 to bolster their offense against left-handed pitching. He became the club’s starting first baseman against lefties and mashed.
Freese, 35, batted .385 and compiled a 1.130 on-base-plus-slugging percentage in 19 regular-season games in Los Angeles. In the playoffs, he hit .364 with a 1.196 OPS and belted two leadoff home runs. Defensively, Freese primarily played first base with the Dodgers, but has spent the majority of his career as a third baseman and made 42 starts at third base with the Pirates this season.
A former World Series MVP, Freese was also a positive clubhouse presence and figures to fill the veteran leadership void the retired Chase Utley leaves behind.
“He’s a professional guy, a professional hitter,” Dodgers third baseman Justin Turner said during the playoffs. “He’s very likable. Guys flock to him. He leaves a good impression on a lot of young guys.”