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Doug Gottlieb Says Freddie Freeman, Casey Close Conduct He Alleged 'Did Not Occur'

Rob Goldberg@@TheRobGoldbergFeatured Columnist IVSeptember 7, 2022

Tiffany Rose/Getty Images for Harold and Carole Pump Foundation

Fox Sports analyst Doug Gottlieb recanted his report about Los Angeles Dodgers first baseman Freddie Freeman and his former agent, Casey Close, in a statement Wednesday:

Doug Gottlieb @GottliebShow

Re: Casey Close/Freddie Freeman negotiations <a href="https://t.co/dhFD8dj49H">pic.twitter.com/dhFD8dj49H</a>

Close released a statement in response:

excel sports @excelsm

Statement on behalf of Casey Close: <a href="https://t.co/9t7rHYCpeE">https://t.co/9t7rHYCpeE</a> <a href="https://t.co/MyqLczqbMO">pic.twitter.com/MyqLczqbMO</a>

Close filed a lawsuit against Gottlieb in July alleging libel, per ESPN's Jeff Passan.

Freeman cut ties with Close and Excel Sports Management in June because he was "angry with how his free-agent negotiations played out," per ESPN's Buster Olney.

Gottlieb then tweeted that Close intentionally withheld information from his client: "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."

Gottlieb said Wednesday this "did not occur" and that "the sources I relied on were incorrect," and he has deleted the tweet.

Close denied Gottlieb's rumor immediately, via Tom Verducci of Sports Illustrated.

"There is no truth whatsoever to what Doug Gottlieb recklessly tweeted, and I would testify to that under oath," Close said in a statement. "We are currently evaluating all legal options in this matter."

Close helped negotiate a six-year, $162 million deal for Freeman with the Los Angeles Dodgers in free agency this past offseason. It came after the first baseman spent 12 seasons with the Atlanta Braves, winning the MVP award in 2020 while leading the squad to a World Series title last year.

Freeman and the Braves showed mutual interest in a new deal, with the Braves reportedly offering a six-year, $140 million contract in March, per Verducci.

Once talks fell apart, Atlanta instead traded for and signed first baseman Matt Olson to an eight-year deal.

Freeman still landed on his feet and is part of the best team in baseball, with the Dodgers entering Wednesday with a 93-42 record. The veteran has a .323 batting average and leads the NL with 171 hits and 44 doubles.

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