SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — It may seem weird for a few days, but Freddie Freeman is already wearing the blue and white of the Los Angeles Dodgers and Kris Bryant is wearing the purple and black of the Colorado Rockies.
Also in camp in Arizona, Japanese star outfielder Seya Suzuki appeared Friday, ready to reinforce the Chicago Cubs.
It was a day of introductions for some of the biggest signings on the free agent market. In the case of Freeman and Bryant, money is certainly a substantial part of their decisions, though both said a desire to be close to their families also played a role.
“I talked to my wife and said, ‘I think it’s time to go home,’” said Freeman, who grew up in Southern California. “My dad is 67 years old and my grandfather is 86. Now they will be able to see me every day, just like they did 15 years ago in high school. So this is special to me.”
Freeman said goodbye to the Atlanta Braves, champions of the last World Series, earlier in the week. He signed a six-year, $162 million deal to join a Los Angeles lineup that was already brimming with talent.
As for Bryant, he’s been around the Rockies for more than a decade. The Las Vegas ballplayer thought he would be drafted with the third overall pick in the 2013 draft, before the Chicago Cubs came along and took him second overall.
The Cubs traded him to the San Francisco Giants during the 2021 season.
Once he hit the free-agent market, he felt comfortable with a Colorado organization that studied him closely for more than 10 years. Bryant will remain in the NL West after making his seven-year, $182 million contract official on Friday.
“I love Denver. I love this city,” said the 2016 season MVP. “I’ve always imagined living here. Now that I have a son and two more on the way, I’m going to have a big family, so just being close to home is an advantage for me.”
Suzuki completed their deal on Friday. He signed with the Cubs for $85 million and five seasons.
Chicago will pay an additional $14,625,000 as a placement fee to Suzuki’s previous club, the Hiroshima Tokyo Carp of Japan’s Central League.
RODRÍGUEZ WILL START OPEN GAME WITH DETROIT
Eduardo Rodríguez was chosen by the Tigers to start the opening game, before working three innings in the preseason game against the Phillies.
The Venezuelan allowed one run and three hits, in addition to prescribing three strikeouts, in his 42-pitch effort.
The 29-year-old left-hander signed a four-year, $77 million deal in November.
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Freeman, Suzuki and Bryant were introduced