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Fox Sports radio host Doug Gottlieb has apologized to Casey Close, the former agent for Dodgers first baseman Freddie Freeman, and retracted a report that claimed Close had withheld key information from Freeman during his free agency.
Freeman, , signed a six-year, $162 million contract with the Dodgers after previously spending his entire professional career as a member of the Atlanta Braves organization. The decision was made after talks with the Braves stalled and they acquired Freeman’s replacement, Matt Olson, via trade with the Oakland Athletics. In late June, Gottlieb tweeted the following: “Casey Close never told Freddie Freeman about the Braves’ final offer, that is why Freeman fired him.”
Close responded by filing a libel suit in U.S. District Court against Gottlieb, and on Wednesday Gottlieb issued his mea culpa in a statement posted to Twitter:
“On June 29, I commented on alleged circumstances surrounding Freddie Freeman’s negotiations with the Atlanta Braves and his relationship with his former agent Casey Close. While I always strive to report accurate information, I prematurely reported on these events and simply got it wrong. Upon further vetting of my sources, a review of the lawsuit filed against me in this matter, and a direct conversation with Casey himself, I have learned that the conduct I alleged did not occur and that there is no credible basis for stating that it did. My ultimate investigation into this matter confirms that Casey Close did, in fact, communicate all offers to Freddie Freeman and the sources I relied on were incorrect, in no uncertain terms. I appreciate the damage that misinformation like this can cause and have been in touch with Casey Close to apologize directly. I have also deleted my original tweet.”
Close’s agency, Excel Sports, released a statement in response in which they accepted Gottlieb’s apology and suggested that the libel suit would be dropped:
“From the onset, we were clear that Mr. Gottlieb’s tweet was wholly inaccurate and that we would seek legal remedies to set the record straight. He has retracted his statement in its entirety and acknowledged that he got the story wrong. We consider the matter closed.”
led to speculation that he regretted his decision to leave the organization that drafted and signed him in 2007 and sign with the Dodgers. Whatever the case, Freeman has thrived in his first season in L.A. Through 135 games, he boasts an of 144 and leads the majors in hits and doubles. At present, Freeman has a WAR of 5.0, while his replacement Olson checks in with a WAR of 2.9.
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