Over the past handful of seasons the Los Angeles Dodgers have reaped the benefit of having at least one of Chase Utley or David Freese on their active roster. They both were with the Dodgers upon Freese being acquired from the Pittsburgh Pirates in August 2018, but Utley retired at season’s end.
Freese mulled over making a similar decision, but was convinced to re-sign with the Dodgers on a one-year contract. Having played that out, Freese announced his retirement shortly after the team was eliminated by the Washington Nationals in the National League Division Series.
“It’s incredible. For Freeser to only be here for basically a year and two months, and to make the impact he made in that clubhouse just speaks volumes to who he is,” Dodgers president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman said. “It was awesome being around him and getting to kind of see that up close and personal.”
While Utley and Freese made for natural candidates to keep in the fold as veteran leaders, the Dodgers now lack that clarity for their roster. One option could be Jedd Gyorko, who was acquired from the St. Louis Cardinals at the July 31 trade deadline this season.
However, Friedman was not ready to commit to any direction. “It will be a real void,” he said. “I’m not sure yet how we’ll fill it but I do know our clubhouse will be a better place next year because of the lasting impact of Chase Utley and David Freese.”
Freese batted .328/.421/.607 with 15 doubles, 13 home runs and 38 RBI in 98 games with the Dodgers. He also added to a stellar October reputation during consecutive trips to the postseason with L.A.
The 2019 campaign was a bit different for Freese in that the Dodgers exercised extreme caution by placing him on the 10-day injured list in late July. He was sidelined by right knee tendinitis in June, which contributed to a strained left hamstring that prompted the second IL stint.
“I think they’re all tough, obviously, but David is a tough loss in the sense of his at-bat against a lefty, off the bench the presence he has,” Roberts said at the time of putting Freese back on the injured list.
“But I think that fortunately, where we’re at, we have a luxury right now of not putting him in harms way to make sure he’s ready for the stretch run.” Freese returned when active rosters expanded on Sept. 1.
While Utley has taken on a role in the Dodgers’ front office, it’s unclear if Freese has any interest in a similar arrangement.