SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — (AP) — It might look a little weird for a few days, but Freddie Freeman officially donned Dodger blue and Kris Bryant donned Colorado Rockies purple and black.
A few miles away in Mesa, Japanese star outfielder Seiya Suzuki was also in camp Friday, ready to bolster the Chicago Cubs.
It was introduction day in Arizona for some of the sport’s biggest free agent recruits. In Freeman and Bryant’s case, the money is certainly substantial, but family attraction played a big part in both decisions.
“I talked to my wife and said, ‘I think it’s time to go home,'” said Freeman, who grew up in Southern California. “I have my 67-year-old father and my 86-year-old grandfather who will now be able to watch me play every day, like 15 years ago in high school, so that’s what’s special for me.”
Freeman said goodbye to World Series champion Atlanta Braves earlier this week, signing a six-year, $162 million deal to join an already packed roster in Los Angeles.
As for Bryant, he’s had a thing for the Rockies for more than a decade. He thought he would be drafted by the Rockies with the No. 3 overall pick in the 2013 draft before the Chicago Cubs swooped in and caught him with the No. 2 pick. He was traded from the Cubs to the Giants in the 2021 season.
Once he entered free agency, he was already comfortable with a Rockies organization that scouted him widely over 10 years ago. Bryant will remain in the NL West after finalizing his seven-year, $182 million contract on Friday.
“I love Denver, I love the city,” the 2016 MVP said. “I always saw myself living there. Now that I have a son and two other boys on the way, a big family, being so close to home, it’s all a plus for me.
“I was thrilled to hear the Rockies were looking to do a deal with a bat, and I feel like I fit in really well here,” he said.
Suzuki also finalized his deal on Friday, signing with the Cubs for $85 million over five seasons. Chicago will pay an additional $14,625,000 in assignment fees to Suzuki’s club, Hiroshima Toyo Carp of the Japan Central League.
CARDS SIGNED DICKERSON, PITCHERS HURT
On a busy day for the St. Louis Cardinals, outfielder Corey Dickerson and the team finalized a $5 million contract for the upcoming season.
The 32-year-old fills a big need for the Cardinals by adding a left-handed bat to their roster. He hit .271 with six home runs and 29 RBIs while appearing in 109 games with the Marlins and Blue Jays last season.
The Cardinals also said pitcher Jack Flaherty will miss the start of the season and there is no timeline for his return after receiving a platelet-rich plasma injection in his ailing right shoulder.
The team hopes Flaherty could be ready by May, but have not ruled out the possibility that he will need surgery.
Pitcher Alex Reyes was diagnosed with a frayed labrum in his throwing shoulder. Reyes is not expected to make his season debut until late May or early June after receiving a stem cell injection on Wednesday.
Also on Friday, manager Oliver Marmol said receiver Yadier Molina is expected to report to camp on Monday.
The 10-time star player was absent during the first week of camp due to what the Cardinals call “personal reasons.” He will be the last of the cardinals to present himself.
SEE EXCHANGE IN PADRES
First baseman Luke Voit was traded from the Yankees to the San Diego Padres on Friday, a day after New York signed Anthony Rizzo to a two-year contract.
New York received 20-year-old right-hander Justin Lange, the 34th overall pick in the 2020 amateur draft.
Voit, a 31-year-old right-handed hitter, led the major leagues with 22 homers during the pandemic-shortened 2020 season, when he hit .277 with 52 RBIs.
He has made four trips to the injured list in 2021, including three stints due to a left knee that underwent surgery to repair a torn meniscus. He hit .239 with 11 homers and 35 RBIs, including five homers in the eighth inning or later.
ANGELS ADD BRADLEY
Right-hander Archie Bradley has agreed to a one-year, $3.75 million deal to bolster the Los Angeles Angels bullpen.
Bradley had his first practice with the Angels on Friday. The veteran reliever is general manager Perry Minasian’s latest addition to the long-struggling Angels pitching staff, and more help is on the way.
Los Angeles will also add veteran right-handed reliever Ryan Tepera after a roster spot was vacated for him.
Bradley went 7-3 with a 3.71 ERA and 40 strikeouts last season for Philadelphia. The eight-year major league veteran has a career 3.89 ERA and experience as a starter and close with the Arizona Diamondbacks.
RODRIGUEZ OPENING CHOKE FOR TIGERS
Eduardo Rodriguez was picked as Detroit’s opening day starter before pitching three innings in Friday’s exhibition opener against the Phillies. Rodriguez allowed a run on three hits and struck out three, throwing 42 pitches.
The 29-year-old southpaw signed a four-year, $77 million contract in November.
AP baseball writer Ronald Blum, AP sportswriter Greg Beacham, and AP freelance writers Chuck King and Dick Scanlon contributed to this story.
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