David Freese has become a household name in recent weeks, earning NLCS and World Series MVP honors during the St. Louis Cardinals’ championship run. But what if Freese played in Boston?
During the 2006 MLB draft, it almost became a reality.
Jason McLeod, the former director of amateur scouting for the Red Sox, told the Padres blog, Inside the Padres, that he attempted to sign Freese while the infielder was a fifth-year senior at the University of South Alabama in 2006. However, as WEEI.com’s Paul Flannery points out, South Alabama made the College World Series regional playoffs, which extended its seasons through the “closed-period.”
According to Flannery, the deal was ultimately rejected by the commissioner’s office, making Freese once again eligible for the draft, during which he was chosen in the ninth round (237th overall) by the San Diego Padres.
McLeod and the Sox reportedly had intended to draft Freese in the seventh round, but eventually decided to roll the dice in the hopes that he would still be available when the team was on the clock in the ninth round (247th overall). But San Diego beat him and the Red Sox to the punch.
After Freese went 10 picks earlier, the Red Sox’ ninth-round pick was instead used on outfielder Ryan Kalish, who figures to be a part of the team’s future plans but had his 2011 season derailed due to a bulging disc in his neck.
Freese eventually landed with the Cardinals when the Padres traded him for Jim Edmonds in 2008.
If Freese had come up with the Red Sox, could he have played a role in preventing the September collapse? We’ll never know, but it’s something to think about.