Freese agreed to a one-year contract with Los Angeles on Thursday, Joel Sherman of the New York Post reports. The Dodgers elected to keep Freese on the roster for the 2019 season: they bought him out for $500,000 and then agreed to a one year, $4.5 million deal. The 35-year-old third baseman went 8-for-22 with a double, a triple, two home runs and six RBI over 14 postseason games in 2018.
Freese and the Dodgers agreed to extend the deadline on his option until Friday, Jon Heyman of Fancred reports. Similar to Clayton Kershaw, the initial deadline for Freese's option was Wednesday night, though it's now been moved to 4pm ET on Friday afternoon. Unlike Kershaw, who has a player option, the Dodgers have to come to a decision on Freese since his deal is a club option. It would cost the team $6 million to keep Freese around in 2019 and $500,000 to buy him out, which would make him a free agent. Outside of his postseason heroics, Freese slashed .296/.359/.471 with 11 home runs and 51 RBI in 113 regular-season games split between Pittsburgh and Los Angeles in 2018.
Freese will bat atop the Dodgers' order and start at first base for Game 6 of the NLCS against Milwaukee on Friday. This will be the fourth time in Freese's career that he will hit first in the lineup, with the most recent instance coming in 2016 for the Pirates. In this series he's gone hitless across five at-bats with a pair of strikeouts. Following Freese in the Dodgers' order will be Max Muncy, Justin Turner and Manny Machado.
Manager Dave Roberts stated that Freese will start Game 1 of the NLCS against Milwaukee on Friday at first base, J.P. Hoornstra of the Los Angeles Daily News reports. With the Brewers rolling out two left-handers on the hill for the first two games of the NLCS, the Dodgers will avoid slotting Max Muncy into the lineup for at least Game 1. Given Freese's extensive postseason experience, Roberts appears comfortable sacrificing a bit of power to create a more favorable matchup at the dish.
Freese went 2-for-4 with a double, one RBI and two runs scored against San Francisco on Sunday. Freese contributed to the Dodgers' beatdown of their arch-rivals, as the club left with a 15-0 victory to secure a spot in the de facto NL West championship Monday afternoon. Across 113 games played between Los Angeles and Pittsburgh this year, Freese has hit .296 with an .830 OPS and 51 RBI.