NEW YORK – Freddie Freeman’s former agent and his company sued a radio host for libel on Thursday, alleging that Doug Gottlieb erroneously claimed that Casey Close never informed the first baseman about the Atlanta Braves’ last contract offer.
Close and Excel Sports Management brought the case before the U.S. District Court in Manhattan, alleging defamation. They accused Gottlieb of “false, derogatory and derogatory” comments in a tweet that they claimed was made “in a grossly irresponsible manner without due regard for the standards of information gathering and dissemination usually followed by responsible parties.”
The 58-year-old Close is the principal of Excel and one of three managing partners. He has represented hundreds of baseball players, including Hall of Famer Derek Jeter.
Gottlieb, 46, is affiliated with Fox Sports, Pac-12 Network and CBS Sports, according to the case.
“Although we gave Mr. Gottlieb an opportunity to withdraw his false statement, he failed to do so,” Close said in a statement. “The complaint sets the record for what happened during the negotiations with the Atlanta Braves.”
Jason Stewart, a producer at Fox Sports Radio Network, referred a request for comment to John Tehranian, who Stewart said was Gottlieb’s lawyer. Tehranian did not respond to a phone call or email.
The case claims that Close has received death threats from people he believes are Braves fans.
Close said in the case that on March 29, 2021, the Braves offered Freeman a $ 110 million five-year deal that started in 2022 and then made a $ 125 million, five-year proposal on August 1 and a $ 135 million proposal in August. 4, all rejected by Freeman.
Close said he and the Braves had their last two talks on a Freeman contract on March 12, and he made two proposals to the team on the day it was rejected. Close said he asked the team if it had an offer he could present to Freeman, and was told the team did not have it.
Close said he immediately informed Freeman of all talks with the Braves on March 12.
Atlanta announced on March 14 that they had acquired first baseman Matt Olson from Oakland, signaling that the team was no longer trying to keep Freeman. On March 17, Freeman signed a $ 162 million six-year contract with the Dodgers.
On June 29, Gottlieb tweeted: “Casey Close never told Freddie Freeman about the Braves’ final offer, that’s why Freeman fired him. He found out in Atlanta over the weekend. It’s not uncommon for that to happen in MLB,” but it happened – Close knew Freddie would have taken the ATL deal. “
Freeman received his World Series ring on June 24 before his first game with the Dodgers in Atlanta, and Close said Freeman fired him as his designated player agent several days later.
Close and Excel said Gottlieb had not complied with their demand to withdraw the comments in his tweet.