Freddie Freeman: Dodgers Winning NL West Was Important ‘Goal’

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Freddie Freeman played a key part in the Los Angeles Dodgers setting a franchise record with 111 wins during the 2022 season, and they appeared poised to go on a deep run in the playoffs, but suffered an early exit at the hands of the San Diego Padres in the National League Division Series.

The Dodgers then lost several key contributors in free agency but were still projected to be one of the league’s better teams this season. FanGraphs’ ZiPS model pegged L.A. to win 91 games and finish tied atop the NL West with San Diego.

The Padres faltered in spectacular fashion and the Dodgers won the division title for a 10th time in the last 11 seasons. It was an accomplishment Freeman clearly had for the Dodgers despite the outcome from the 2022 NLDS.

“If you don’t have a goal to win the division every year, that should be your first goal,” he said earlier this year. “You want to win the division. I mean, as long as you get in the playoffs that’s one thing, but I would rather win the division and have the best record so you don’t have to play the Wild Card scenario.

“Do I think anything is different? No. I want to win 111 games and the division this year.

“I wouldn’t change anything. I just wish we played a little better in the NLDS. I want to win 111 games and win the division again, and then ultimately win the World Series. Just win the World Series, however you do it, but the goal is to win the division.”

While winning the NL West comes with benefits, there have been instances where a team catches fire at the end of a season, sneaks into the playoffs and makes a deep run. “You look at the Philadelphia Phillies, they won 87 games and made it (to the World Series),” Freeman recalled.

“I wish I could tell you there’s a format to this. Like, every one seed is going to get there. It just doesn’t happen, especially in baseball. The Houston Astros were a good team and they won. But in previous years, the Washington Nationals got hot in ’19 and they win it.

“The Dodgers were a great team in 2020, and then we got hot at the right time, the Astros were good and the Phillies got hot. Sometimes it’s just who’s hot and playing well.

“It’s so unpredictable in sports, especially in baseball. It’s a round ball, round bat, and you’re counting on so many different guys to be good. It’s hard. We just weren’t good when we needed to be good last year.”

Freddie Freeman records in 2023

Freeman followed up a strong first season with the Dodgers by breaking multiple records in 2023. Among them were the most doubles in Dodgers franchise history, as he finished with 59.

Freeman fell one double and one home run shy of becoming the first player in MLB history with 60 and 30 in one season.

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