After the Dodgers clinched the National League West on Tuesday night, Los Angeles president of baseball operations talked with insider David Vassegh about all the things that led to that moment.
One of the keys in Friedman’s mind was first baseman Freddie Freeman, who signed with L.A. during spring training after the Braves weren’t willing to offer him six years to come back to Atlanta.
Friedman knew Freeman was an excellent ballplayer, but his impact on the team has been more than the executive could have hoped for.
“It’s hard to put into words. Just the consistency he’s brought. And again, what he’s done in the batter’s box is obvious, but the level of accountability. The way he’s gotten guys to take pride in playing every day. The way he runs the bases I think is contagious on other guys.
“So there are so many different ways that he has an incredible impact on what we do. And I’m really looking forward to that stability and what he brings into October.”
Freeman has developed a strong bond with Mookie Betts, who won an MVP Award with the Red Sox but has found new ways to improve every day by watching Freddie’s example. Freeman and Trea Turner have had a friendly battle all year, each starting every game but one and ranking 1-2 in the majors in hits. And manager Dave Roberts has referred to second baseman Gavin Lux as “Freddie Freeman Lite,” while Lux’s season stats are matching his potential for the first time in his four big-league seasons.
Freeman’s league-leading batting average is about what Friedman expected, but his ability to make his teammates better was somewhat of a happy accident. And Friedman couldn’t be happier about it.
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