MLB rumors: Rays surprisingly linked to Freddie Freeman; Dodgers’ Max Muncy should be ready for Opening Day

As the owner-imposed lockout in Major League Baseball approaches 100 days, we’re still left waiting on where a decent number of big names in free agency will land. Once a new CBA is reached and the lockout is finally ended, things will move swiftly both there and on the trade market — likely after a few high-profile signings. 

Speaking of which, let’s dive in with some rumors for the day. 

Rays join Freeman sweepstakes

Superstar first baseman Freddie Freeman is one of the most high-profile free agents left unsigned. We’ve long heard rumors that the hold up between the 32-year-old and a return to the Braves was his desire for a sixth year while the Braves only want to go to five. Beside the Braves, we’ve heard the Yankees and Dodgers would be involved in a bidding war for Freeman’s services. 

None of this is surprising and likely could have been guessed without any sourced reporting on the issue. 

Of course, for the polar opposite, let’s venture over to Jon Heyman’s report from Monday, which says the Rays made Freeman an offer before the lockout. 

Given how the Rays operate, a serious offer to Freeman (which would need to be in the neighborhood of 5-6 years and $150 million) would be pretty shocking. Regardless, it’s interesting to note. 

Heyman also mentions the Blue Jays as a possible fit for Freeman. 

Freeman hit .300/.393/.503 (133 OPS+) with 25 doubles, 31 homers, 83 RBI and 120 runs last season for the World Series champions. He got off to a horrific start, by his standards (he was hitting just .237 on June 15), but was hot down the stretch. A consistently great hitter, Freeman has hit a combined .302/.394/.523 (144 OPS+) in his last nine seasons. A model of durability, he’s only missed seven games in the last four regular seasons combined, too. 

Muncy eyes Opening Day (whenever that might be) 

One of the teams mentioned heavily in Freeman rumors is the Dodgers, so that obviously is a topic of some concern for incumbent first baseman Max Muncy. He started 101 games last year for the Dodgers at first, more than double anyone else on the roster. That’s fine, though, as Muncy would accept a Freeman signing with open arms. 

On a radio interview with “Dodger Talk” recently, Muncy said as much (via True Blue LA). 

“I think it’s awesome. Imagine how dangerous we’d be if we get him in that lineup. It makes me really excited,” Muncy said. “Maybe it’s not as much [playing] first base, but that’s OK. I enjoy playing second base more. If we get the DH, that’s going to be a rotating position. We’re not going to have a one set DH. That means we’ll be rotating all around the field. That’s when it’s really fun. I’m excited about it.”

Muncy started 31 games at second base last season and has 136 career starts at second. The designated hitter is also plenty relevant here, as it is most certainly getting added to the NL on a full-time basis. 

That is to say, Muncy makes good points and the Dodgers clearly have room for both players. 

Of course, one might recall that Muncy tore the UCL in his left elbow on a play at first in the final game of the 2021 regular season and missed the entirety of the playoffs thereafter. It is not his throwing elbow and he did not have Tommy John surgery. Here’s what he had to say on the radio spot regarding his recovery. 

It’s coming along. It feels pretty good. We’ve been swinging a bat lately. It’s progressing well. The lockout helps, but it’s a little tricky. I’m getting more time to get healthy but I’m not being able to work with my guys on the staff. I can’t even talk to them. I’d be getting better treatment if I was getting worked on by them. It’s the unfortunate circumstances. It does give me a chance to get healthy but I’m not getting the full extent of what I could be getting. I think even before the lockout it was looking like I’d be ready for Opening Day. I still think we’re on track for that now. It’s feeling strong and healthy. It’s a little stiff, but that’s to be expected. We’re working through it and it should be good to go.

Given that the season has been delayed and is likely to be delayed again, we can probably count on Muncy being in the Opening Day lineup for the Dodgers. Will Freeman join him? 


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