Ryan Freel, 36, was found dead in his Jacksonville, Fla. home on Saturday. Early reports indicate he he died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound.
Freel played briefly for the Cubs in 2009. Jim Hendry aquired him from Baltimore for Joey Gathright in early May–A trade I never understood.
Gathright was 28 and Freel a washed up 33-year-old riddled with an achy body. Granted, Gathright never panned out, but Freel had a (-2) OPS+ in just 14-games with Chicago before he was purchased by the Royals in July. His production at the big league level had passed him by before he ever arrived in Chicago.
“He’s a little guy who lives in my head who talks to me and I talk to him.”
-Freel on his invisible friend “Farney”
That aside, count me among the many fans who appreciated Freel’s constant hustle on the diamond. He was scrappy, a gamer, and apparently won the heart of Hendry, too.
Long live Farney.