Agent Casey Close Denies Report He Withheld Braves' Last Offer from Freddie Freeman

Timothy Rapp@@TRappaRTFeatured Columnist IV

DENVER, COLORADO - JUNE 29: Freddie Freeman #5 of the Los Angeles Dodgers circles the bases after hitting a solo home run against the Colorado Rockies in the first inning at Coors Field on June 29, 2022 in Denver, Colorado. (Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images)
Matthew Stockman/Getty Images

On Wednesday, Doug Gottlieb of Fox Sports reported that Freddie Freeman fired his agent, Casey Close, after Close didn't tell Freeman that the Atlanta Braves made him a final offer in free agency this past winter before Freeman signed with the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Doug Gottlieb @GottliebShow

Casey Close never told Freddie Freeman about the Braves final offer, that is why Freeman fired him. He found out in Atlanta this weekend. It isn’t that rare to have happen in MLB, but it happened - Close knew Freddie would have taken the ATL deal

Close vehemently denied that report.

"There is no truth whatsoever to what Doug Gottlieb recklessly tweeted, and I would testify to that under oath," he told Sports Illustrated's Tom Verducci in a statement. "We are currently evaluating all legal options in this matter."

Close further addressed the matter to ESPN on Thursday:

Jeff Passan @JeffPassan

Agent Casey Close is accusing the Atlanta Braves of creating a "false narrative" around Freddie Freeman's departure from the organization. Close also said that he communicated all offers from the Braves to Freeman.<br><br>The full statement from Close to ESPN: <a href="https://t.co/jGD246JG9b">pic.twitter.com/jGD246JG9b</a>

On Tuesday, ESPN's Buster Olney reported that Freeman was cutting ties with Excel Sports Management, the agency that employs Close.

Buster Olney @Buster_ESPN

Sources: Freddie Freeman, who has told friends he's angry with how his free-agent negotiations played out, is changing representation, away from Excel. He is currently listed as being self-represented.

Freeman, however, didn't go so far as to say that he had cut ties with Excel or Close completely in the following statement: "Last weekend in Atlanta was a very emotional time for me and my family. I am working through some issues with my longtime agents at Excel. My representation remains a fluid situation and I will update if needed."

Freeman was also asked about Gottlieb's report on Wednesday and declined to comment.

Per Verducci, the Braves made Freeman a six-year, $140 million offer in March but "when talks stalemated, Atlanta pivoted to trade for A's first baseman Matt Olson."

Atlanta then signed Olson to an eight-year, $168 million extension. Freeman, meanwhile, would go on to sign a six-year, $162 million deal days later, with $57 million deferred.

Up until this season, Freeman had spent his entire career with the Braves (2010-21). The 32-year-old was a five-time All-Star and the 2020 National League MVP, and he helped lead the Braves to a title in 2021.

His return to Atlanta for the first time over the weekend was an emotional one:

Bally Sports: Braves @BravesOnBally

Just listen to this Atlanta reception for <a href="https://twitter.com/FreddieFreeman5?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@FreddieFreeman5</a> 🔊 <a href="https://t.co/zE21hqZphx">pic.twitter.com/zE21hqZphx</a>

Bally Sports: Braves @BravesOnBally

𝐍𝐨. 𝟓 𝐫𝐞𝐜𝐞𝐢𝐯𝐞𝐬 𝐡𝐢𝐬 𝐖𝐨𝐫𝐥𝐝 𝐒𝐞𝐫𝐢𝐞𝐬 𝐫𝐢𝐧𝐠 🙏 <a href="https://t.co/Wy1bmRJB9t">pic.twitter.com/Wy1bmRJB9t</a>


Freddie's message to <a href="https://twitter.com/Braves?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@Braves</a> fans had us all crying. ❤️ <a href="https://t.co/2a9GijKOni">pic.twitter.com/2a9GijKOni</a>

"Last time I was on this field, there was a big stage in the middle of this field, because we accomplished something so special," Freeman said after receiving his World Series ring. "From the bottom of my heart, and my family's heart, we thank you for the support you've shown my family and I for the last 12 years."

Whatever the details of Freeman's departure from Atlanta, it certainly seems as though he wanted to remain with the organization. Based on some of the reporting regarding the situation, it would appear he's placing some of that blame on his representation, though the particulars of how those negotiations fell apart remain unclear.