Matt Olson was one of the hottest names in trade rumors prior to the lockout. The Oakland A’s first baseman was heavily pursued, with multiple teams interested in his services. Given his two years of team control and relatively affordable salary compared to the cost of a free agent, it is not a surprise that the Oakland A’s phone would be ringing off the hook.
Olson also put together a career season at the perfect time. He produced a 153 OPS+ in his 673 plate appearances, hitting 39 homers and 35 doubles while driving in over 100 runs for the first time in his career. He made his first All Star Game and was a finalist for the Gold Glove award.
Three landing spots for Matt Olson
While teams typically do not empty the farm system for a first baseman, there are extenuating circumstances. Freddie Freeman is clearly the best option available in free agency, with Olson being a comparable value in terms of production. When one considers the financial implications, it may be worth sending those prospects to Oakland to add Olson to the lineup.
There are going to be plenty of suitors for Matt Olson once the lockout comes to an end. Let’s look at three possible trade destinations.
The Atlanta Braves are expected to retain Freddie Freeman on a long term deal. However, there are some issues with that happening.
The first is that the two sides are far apart in terms of their salary expectations. The Braves offered a five year deal worth $135 million while Freeman is looking for a six year deal at $200 million. Maybe the two sides can bridge that gap, but it is quite the divide in terms of a dollar amount.
The second is that Freeman is getting frustrated with the Braves. He has begun considering offers from other teams, with the Blue Jays, in particular, being aggressive in their pursuit. The Braves, on their end, have checked in with Anthony Rizzo‘s representatives and have inquired about Olson.
From a strictly baseball standpoint, Olson makes a great deal of sense. He is younger than Freeman and will cost less over the next two seasons. He is also just entering his prime and may outperform Freeman in that stretch.
If the Atlanta Braves do not retain Freddie Freeman, they could quickly pivot to Matt Olson. He may even be an upgrade.