ATLANTA — Freddie Freeman is headed home to Southern California and the Los Angeles Dodgers. The free-agent first baseman has agreed to a $162 million, six-year contract with the Dodgers, according to a person familiar with the deal.
The person spoke to The Associated Press on the condition of anonymity because the move had not yet been announced by the team.
The 2020 National League MVP helped the Atlanta Braves to their fourth straight NL East title last season and their first World Series championship since 1995.
Braves fans were already braced for the departure, after the trade for his replacement, Matt Olson, and a farewell post Freeman wrote on Instagram.
"Thank you from the bottom of my heart. It has been a blast to have you cheer for me and I hope I was able to bring smiles to a lot of your homes over the years," Freeman wrote. "I gave everything I had day in and day out and I hope you guys saw that as well."
Freeman had been on an 8-year, $135 million deal with the Braves that paid him $22 million in base salary last year. Negotiations on a new contract, however, seemingly stalled after the team's World Series victory.
He had been initially vocal about his desire to stay in Atlanta.
"Do you wanna be here the rest of your career?" he was asked during the World Series in November.
"Everyone knows that answer. Did I think I was gonna be sitting here with no contract after this? No, but everyone knows this is a crazy game, crazy business, but everyone knows where my heart is, and it's the Atlanta Braves," he said. "I've been here since I was 17 years old - almost half my life I've been in this organization - so I think everyone knows how my heart is... it means everything to put on that Braves uniform every day, so hopefully I can continue to do that."
Freeman's 12-year career with the Braves includes a wealth of records and achievements that ranks him among the best hitters to ever play for the team.
He was selected in the second round of the 2007 MLB Draft by Atlanta out of El Modena High School in Southern California, and debuted for the club three years later.
He hit 271 home runs while with the Braves, driving in 941 RBIs and collecting 1,704 hits in 1,565 games played. He batted .295 with a .384 on-base percentage and .509 slugging percentage as a Brave. Last season he hit .300 with 31 homers and 83 RBIs.
His honors include the 2020 MVP award, three Silver Slugger awards and five All-Star Game appearances.
Above them all of course, though, is his role in leading Atlanta to the 2021 World Series, a title the team had waited 26 years to celebrate.
Braves general manager Alex Anthopolous, speaking after the Olson trade, choked up and said it was one of the toughest deals he's ever had to make - appearing to acknowledge the implication that it spelled the end for Freeman's Braves career.