Introduction day: Freeman, Suzuki, Bryant enjoy new digs
SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. (AP) — It may look a little weird for a few days, but Freddie Freeman officially put on Dodger blue and Kris Bryant donned the purple and black of the Colorado Rockies.
A few miles away in Mesa, Japanese star outfielder Seiya Suzuki also was in camp Friday, ready to bolster the Chicago Cubs.
It was introduction day in Arizona for some of sport’s biggest free agent signings. In the case of Freeman and Bryant, the money is certainly substantial but the pull of family loomed large in both decisions.
“I talked to my wife and I said, ‘I think it’s time to go home,’” said Freeman, who grew up in Southern California. “I’ve got my 67-year-old dad and my 86-year-old grandfather who’s now going to be able to watch me play every day, just like 15 years ago in high school, so that’s what’s special to me.”
Freeman said goodbye to the World Series champion Atlanta Braves earlier this week, signing a $162 million, six-year deal to join an already loaded Los Angeles lineup.
As for Bryant, he’s had a soft spot for the Rockies for more than a decade. He thought he’d be drafted by the Rockies with the No. 3 overall pick in the 2013 draft before the Chicago Cubs swooped in and grabbed him with the No. 2 selection. He was traded from the Cubs to the Giants during the 2021 season.
Once he hit free agency, he was already comfortable with a Rockies organization that scouted him extensively more than 10 years ago. Bryant will stay in the NL West after finalizing his $182 million, seven-year deal on Friday.
“I love Denver, I love the city,” the 2016 MVP said. “I’ve always saw myself living there. Now that I have a son and two more boys on the way, a big family, just being so close to home, all that’s a plus to me.
“I was thrilled to hear the Rockies were looking to do a deal with a bat, and I feel like I fit really well here,” he said.
Suzuki also finalized his deal on Friday, signing with the Cubs for $85 million over five seasons. Chicago will pay an additional $14,625,000 as a posting fee to Suzuki’s club, the Hiroshima Toyo Carp of Japan’s Central League.
CARDS SIGN DICKERSON, PITCHERS HURT
In a busy day for the St. Louis Cardinals, outfielder Corey Dickerson and the team finalized a $5 million contract for the upcoming season.
The 32-year-old fills a big need for the Cardinals by adding a left-handed bat to their lineup. He hit .271 with six homers and 29 RBIs while appearing in 109 games for the Marlins and Blue Jays last season.
The Cardinals also said pitcher Jack Flaherty will miss the start of the season and there’s no timetable for his return after he received a platelet-rich plasma injection in his ailing right shoulder.
The team is hopeful Flaherty could be ready by May, but haven’t ruled out the possibility that he could need surgery.
Fellow pitcher Alex Reyes has been diagnosed with a frayed labrum in his throwing shoulder. Reyes isn’t expected to make his season debut until late May or early June after receiving a stem cell injection on Wednesday.
Also on Friday, manager Oliver Marmol said catcher Yadier Molina is expected to report to camp on Monday.
The 10-time All-Star has been absent for the first week of camp because of what the Cardinals are calling “personal reasons.” He will be the last of the Cardinals to report.
VOIT TRADED TO PADRES
First baseman Luke Voit was traded from the Yankees to the San Diego Padres on Friday, a day after New York completed a two-year contract with Anthony Rizzo.
New York received 20-year-old right-hander Justin Lange, the 34th overall pick in the 2020 amateur draft.
Voit, a 31-year-old right-handed hitter, led the major leagues with 22 home runs during the pandemic-shortened 2020 season, when he hit .277 with 52 RBIs.
He made four trips to the injured list in 2021, including three stints because of a left knee that had surgery to repair a torn meniscus. He hit .239 with 11 homers and 35 RBIs, including five home runs in the eighth inning or later.
ANGELS ADD BRADLEY
Right-hander Archie Bradley has agreed to a $3.75 million, one-year deal to bolster the Los Angeles Angels’ bullpen.
Bradley went through his first workout with the Angels on Friday. The veteran reliever is the latest addition by general manager Perry Minasian to the Angels’ long-struggling pitching staff, and more help is on the way.
Los Angeles also will add veteran right-handed reliever Ryan Tepera after a roster spot is cleared for him.
Bradley went 7-3 with a 3.71 ERA and 40 strikeouts last season for Philadelphia. The eight-year major league veteran has a career 3.89 ERA and experience as a starter and a closer with the Arizona Diamondbacks.
RODRIGUEZ OPENING STARTER FOR TIGERS
Eduardo Rodriguez was picked Detroit’s opening day starter before throwing three innings in Friday’s exhibition opener against the Phillies. Rodriguez gave up one run on three hits and struck out three, throwing 42 pitches.
The 29-year-old left-hander signed a four-year, $77 million contact in November.
AP Baseball Writer Ronald Blum, AP Sports Writer Greg Beacham and AP freelance writers Chuck King and Dick Scanlon contributed to this story.
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