Fri. Jun 9th, 2023

Agent Casey Close accused the Atlanta Braves of perpetuating a “false narrative” relating to the departure of first baseman Freddie Freeman from the group, saying in an announcement to ESPN that he “is not going to stand by” as allegations about his position in Freeman becoming a member of the Los Angeles Dodgers proceed within the wake of the months-long fallout from the transfer.

Questions surrounding Close’s half in Freeman leaving Atlanta for the Los Angeles Dodgers got here to a head Wednesday, when radio host Doug Gottlieb accused Close in a tweet of withholding the Braves’ remaining supply from Freeman. In a earlier assertion, Close referred to as that “a completely inaccurate characterization” and mentioned Excel is “evaluating all authorized choices to handle the reckless publication of inaccurate data.”

In a follow-up assertion Thursday, Close mentioned: “I can’t stand by because the circumstances surrounding Freddie Freeman’s departure from Atlanta are mischaracterized. Since March, the Braves have fostered a story in regards to the negotiations which, acknowledged plainly, is fake. Part of that false narrative is the suggestion that I didn’t talk a contract supply to the Freemans. To be clear, we communicated each supply that was made, in addition to each communication Excel had with the Braves group all through the complete course of. I’ve a 30-year popularity on this enterprise for integrity and honesty, and I’ve all the time operated with the utmost character. At Excel, we’re privileged to characterize many exemplary athletes, a few of whom have chosen to spend their total careers with one franchise. We all the time put the participant’s targets and greatest pursuits first and can all the time proceed to take action.”

Negotiations on a contract extension between the Braves and Freeman, who was with the group from the 2007 draft to their World Series win in 2021, began in earnest final season. After the events could not come to an settlement after the commerce deadline, Freeman filed free of charge company however didn’t signal earlier than the Dec. 1 lockout. The disconnect Close describes regards what occurred following the re-opening of free company.

In a telephone dialog, Close advised ESPN three earlier affords — one towards the start of the 2021 season and two in August, the ultimate one for 5 years and $135 million — have been communicated formally by way of e-mail. Close mentioned the Braves by no means made a proper supply for Freeman, 32, throughout free company and that the purported remaining supply — for 5 years and $140 million — was floated March 12 by Braves basic supervisor Alex Anthopoulos as a risk. Close mentioned he relayed the discussions in regards to the potential supply to Freeman however insisted it was not agency.

While the Dodgers and Tampa Bay Rays had expressed curiosity in Freeman, discussions had centered on parameters of a possible deal, not affords. Multiple media stories mentioned Close issued an ultimatum to the Braves: They had one hour to simply accept both a five-year, $165 million deal or six-year, $175 million contract. Close advised ESPN: “I by no means issued an ultimatum to the Braves or put a deadline on the negotiations.”

On March 14, two days after the discussions ended, the Braves traded a prospect-laden package deal to Oakland for All-Star first baseman Matt Olson, who they quickly signed to an eight-year, $168 million contract. On March 17, Freeman agreed to a six-year, $162 million take care of the Los Angeles Dodgers.

The Braves haven’t publicly addressed intimately the Freeman discussions and declined remark when reached by ESPN.

The rousing ovation Freeman acquired in his return to Atlanta over the weekend highlighted the sophisticated penalties of his free company. While Freeman mentioned earlier than the collection “I’ve no regrets” over signing with the Dodgers, the lingering impact is palpable. Dodgers star Clayton Kershaw advised the Atlanta Journal-Constitution “I hope we’re not second fiddle” in Freeman’s thoughts.

Freeman’s return to Atlanta over the weekend coincided together with his firing of Excel Sports Management, whose baseball division is run by Close and employs Freeman’s longtime day-to-day agent, Victor Menocal, based on ESPN’s Buster Olney. Freeman, when requested whether or not he had fired Excel, referred to as his relationship with the company “fluid.” Freeman can be the second outstanding consumer to depart from Excel this winter. Trevor Story, who signed a six-year, $140 million free agent take care of the Boston Red Sox, then left Excel for Wasserman.

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