The Cincinnati Reds have acquired infielder Mike Freeman from Cleveland in a trade. Zack Meisel of The Athletic first reported that the deal was for cash.
Mike Freeman has spent parts of the last five seasons in the Major Leagues for Arizona, Seattle, Los Angeles (Dodgers), Chicago (Cubs), and Cleveland. The 33-year-old has only had one season in which he had more than 66 plate apeparances, though. In 2019 he played in 75 games with Cleveland and hit .277/.362/.390 in 213 trips to the plate. He’s a career .237/.302/.316 hitter in the big leagues spread out over 347 plate appearances.
Position versatility is where Mike Freeman stands out. He’s spent time at first base, second base, third base, shortstop, left field, right field, and he’s even pitched in two games in the big leagues. From a utility player standpoint, being able to play almost anywhere if asked is quite useful.
As an offensive player there are some questions about what kind of value he would bring. The 2019 version of Freeman was certainly valuable at the plate. The rest of his career as a hitter in the Major Leagues, though, has been poor. His projections for 2021 are similar between ZiPS and PECOTA, but Marcels like’s him quite a bit more – obviously weighing the 2019 season quite a bit more than the other systems are.
Despite being 33-years-old, Mike Freeman still has an option remaining. With that said, he is currently not on the 40-man roster and is considered a non-roster invitee to big league camp. The option would only be in play if the team were to call him up at some point and then choose to later send him back to the minor leagues.
While with Cleveland this spring, Mike Freeman has played in six games and has gone 5-15 with a double, home run, no walks, and four strikeouts. He’s hitting .333/.313/.600 – and no, that’s not a typo, his on-base percentage is lower than his average thanks to a sacrifice fly and no walks.