A unusual set of circumstances led to St. Louis Cardinals third baseman David Freese being a part of his current team instead of signing with the Boston Red Sox, a story by WEEI.com's Alex Speier revealed Monday. Freese, last year's National League Championship Series and World Series MVP, and one of the catalyst to the Cardinals' postseason run this season, apparently could have been a Red Sox as easily as a Cardinal.
The 2006 ninth-round selection of the San Diego Padres could have signed with the Red Sox, an organization that was strongly recruiting him out of South Alabama, but didn't because his college team earned an improbable at-large bid to the College World Series.
In 2006, the draft rules permitted fifth-year seniors to sign as free agents once their baseball seasons concluded, so long as the team’s season was done prior to the MLB draft. And so, as the South Alabama season wound down, Freese – who had a huge year as a fifth-year senior, hitting .414/.503/.661/1.165 with 12 homers – was talking to teams about the possibility of signing in the days leading up to the draft.
Freese admits that if his team didn't make it to the College World Series that year he would have signed with the Red Sox before the draft -- a decision that would have helped him earn more money than his original $6,000 contract with the Padres.
"If we didn’t make the regional, I was probably going to be a Red Sox before the draft," said Freese. "I was close. Obviously, I’m glad the way things worked out."
Freese was drafted by the Padres then was acquired by the Cardinals in a 2007 trade for Jim Edmonds.