Rockies pitcher Kyle Freeland on MLB lockout: ‘I gotta protect my guys’

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With the MLB lockout raging on, Rockies pitcher Kyle Freeland has to get creative with how he prepares for the coming season.

Colorado Rockies pitcher Kyle Freeland joined The Baseball Insiders podcast to talk about the MLB lockout, his experiences working with the Special Olympics in Denver and going in-depth on the lead-up to his wild card game outing against the Chicago Cubs in 2018.

Listen to the full interview to hear Freeland’s thoughts on a variety of topics, including how he sometimes listens to … Katy Perry before starts?

Spotify: https://open.spotify.com/show/0w8jYR5PJe325b6JvKPQgO

Apple: https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/the-baseball-insiders/id1587035090

YouTube: https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=eADaez3CwNw&feature=youtu.be

Rockies pitcher Kyle Freeland on the MLB lockout

How does a deal get done?

We’re supposed to be a week and a half away from reporting. I know for me, that’s a big day where you’re getting back with all the guys, back in the clubhouse and getting things rolling. Time is not on our side right now. We need to get the ball rolling on certain things and hopefully over the course of the next couple weeks we can get a deal done where both sides are happy and we can start playing baseball again.

How closely do you follow the negotiations? I don’t think you’re the PA rep for the Rockies.

Scott Oberg is our PA rep. I’m not following it extremely closely, but we have our group chat that Oberg keeps us up to date on with what’s going on with the day-to-day stuff. We have media, emails that we receive. I’m definitely staying engaged with it just because I’m truly involved in it. I’m on the 40-man roster, I’m playing baseball, I’m going into my sixth year. It’s something that means something to me and we as players preach that we need to leave this game better than how we found it. That’s something we want to do.

Is preparing different from what you’ve done in years past?

It’s definitely different from what we’ve done in years past. I think when COVID hit, that first offseason after COVID, was where guys had to get creative with their workouts because that’s when offseason facilities were closed. A lot of facilities either didn’t make it through COVID or had strict policies. We had to get creative with what we had to do to throw bullpens, hit, get our arms ready. That was one hurdle that everyone had to get through. At this point, I’m used to getting into the facility now to throw bullpens, get on mounds, be on the dirt, putting on the spikes, getting ready for the baseball season. Right now, it’s throwing at parks, throwing off turf mounds, inside. Being so close to our technical report date, it kind of sucks that we aren’t doing that right now.

Is there anything you want more than anything else in the next CBA? 

I gotta protect my guys, so one thing I’m going for is the age limit on free agency. You have a career minor-leaguer who has been grinding his ass off for 8-9 years and finally gets to the big leagues and he can finally hit free agency at a certain age and not having to establish 6-7 years of major league service time. … That would be one thing I’d like to see.

What was your mindset going into a winner-take-all playoff game against the Cubs in 2018?

That was a whirlwind of 48 hours. We went from Denver to Los Angeles for Game 163, lost Game 163, went straight from LA to Chicago, got in late into Chicago. For the first time ever, I took my team iPad into the hotel to do my scouting, watch their hitters. I was in a little bit of a panic since I had very little time to prepare for this game. I remember sitting up in the hotel room with my now-wife and her parents wanting to come up and say “Hi” and I remember looking at her and being like, “You need to get them out of here. I need my space right now.” I said hi to them, they left and went to the ballpark as late as possible. I got to the ballpark, changed, sat right in front of my locker and Chris Ianetta, my battery mate, sat right next to me and we didn’t share a single word the entire time leading up to pregame. After that, it was getting into my routine – getting loose, going out on the diamond, playing catch, throwing a bullpen. It was almost emotionally draining being out there considering the history of the ballpark, the fans that they have, letting me have it out in right field. It’s something that I’ll never forget.

What does the Special Olympics mean to you?

They hold a very special place in my heart. I’ve been working with them for a handful of years now, dating back to 2018, where we had an off-day in Seattle and got to watch a bunch of USA games with the Colorado athletes. The joy that they brought me, seeing the camaraderie and friendships that they had, how they picked each other up … it’s very humbling. It puts the world in perspective to see how much joy that they have. That’s when I really fell in love with it and really wanted to sink my teeth into it, help them out in any way that I can. … It was just an on-the-ground experience, (no family ties).

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