Casey Close is here to set the record straight.
The ex-agent for Los Angeles Dodgers star Freddie Freeman issued a scathing statement criticizing the Atlanta Braves on Thursday two days after Freeman reportedly fired him. Close issued the statement through his agency Excel Sports accusing the Braves of fostering "a false narrative" about the negotiations that preceded Freeman's departure from the Braves in free agency.
"I will not stand by as the circumstances surrounding Freddie Freeman's departure from Atlanta are mischaracterized," the statement reads. "Since March, the Braves have fostered a narrative about the negotiations which, stated plainly, is false."
Close went on to write that the "false narrative" suggests that he didn't communicate an offer from the Braves to Freeman as their contract talks broke down.
A statement on behalf of Casey Close: pic.twitter.com/HMRH6EhQOk
— excel sports (@excelsm) June 30, 2022
Ongoing drama surrounding Freeman's Braves exit
Freeman played the first 12 seasons of his MLB career with the Braves, where he made five All-Star teams, won the 2020 NL MVP award and a World Series in 2021. He left for the Dodgers in the offseason as a free agent after the Braves traded for Oakland A's All-Star first baseman Matt Olson. He made an emotional return to Atlanta last weekend for a Dodgers-Braves series. He was in tears during a pregame news conference and World Series ring presentation.
Freeman reportedly fired Close and Excel Sports on Tuesday amid reported details about the breakdown in contract talks. ESPN's Buster Olney reported that the Braves initially offered Freeman $135 million over five years and responded to Close's "significantly higher" counteroffer by bumping the offer up to $140 million. According to the report, Close set a deadline for the Braves to respond, and the Braves allowed the deadline to pass before moving on to Olson.
On Wednesday, Doug Gottlieb — a radio host who talks about college basketball — tweeted that Close never communicated Atlanta's final offer to Freeman and that was the reason Freeman fired him. Gottlieb is not an established baseball reporter.
Close issued a statement shortly after Gottlieb's tweet denying the claim and threatening legal action:
"Doug Gottlieb tweeted a wholly inaccurate characterization of our negotiations with the Atlanta Braves on behalf of Freddie Freeman," the statement reads. "We are immediately evaluating all legal options to address the reckless publication of inaccurate information."
Then came Thursday's statement from Close blaming the Braves for fomenting a false narrative.
"To be clear, we communicated every offer that was made, as well as every communication Excel had with the Braves organization throughout the entire process," Close continued. "I have a 30-year reputation in this business for integrity and honesty, and I have always operated with the utmost character.
It's not clear where Gottlieb claims to have gotten his information. Freeman declined to comment on Gottlieb's tweet on Wednesday.