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Derek Jeter Defends Casey Close Over Freddie Freeman Situation

Excel Sports Management’s Casey Close is not pleased with what he describes as an erroneous report that he withheld a final contract offer from the Braves to Freddie Freeman during this past offseason. He now has a very famous and outspoken supporter: Derek Jeter.

The former Yankees captain took to Twitter to defend Close’s reputation, citing the pair’s decades-long working relationship and friendship.

“I have known Casey since I was 18. Over the last 30 years, we have had our share of differences of opinion, but to this day, he remains a trusted advisor and friend,” Jeter wrote. “He is a man who values morals, integrity and above all else honesty and transparency.”

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On Thursday, Close released a statement lambasting the Braves for creating a “false narrative” about the Freeman contract negotiation, saying that he had constant contact with the Freeman family during every step of the way.

“I will not stand by as the circumstances surrounding Freddie Freeman’s departure from Atlanta are mischaracterized,” Close wrote. “Since March, the Braves have fostered a narrative about the negotiations which, stated plainly, is false. Part of that false narrative is the suggestion that I did not communicate a contract offer to the Freemans. 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.”

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The statement comes one day after Close denied the initial report to Sports Illustrated‘s Tom Verducci, calling the tweet from Fox Sports radio host Doug Gottlieb reckless and saying he and his team were “evaluating all legal options in this matter.”

In a tweet Wednesday, Gottlieb said that Close “never told Freddie Freeman about the Braves [sic] final offer, that is why Freeman fired him. He found out in Atlanta this weekend. It isn’t that rare to have happen in MLB, but it happened – Close knew Freddie would have taken the ATL deal.”

Freeman’s relationship with Close appears to be at least on pause. In response to an ESPN report that Freeman fired Close, Freeman released a statement Tuesday that stopped short of acknowledging he ended that relationship.

“Last weekend in Atlanta was a very emotional time for me and my family,” Freeman said in his statement. “I am working through some issues with my longtime agents at Excel. My representation remains a fluid situation and I will update if needed.”

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