Oakland A’s send Matt Olson to Atlanta Braves
By David Hill
The Oakland A’s fire sale has continued. Less than two days after sending Chris Bassitt to the Mets, they have sent another star to the NL East as Matt Olson is reportedly heading to the Atlanta Braves.
While the Braves had been mentioned as a possible landing spot for Olson, he was seen as their backup plan. The expectation was that Freddie Freeman would return to the only franchise he had ever known, especially in the wake of their championship last season. However, as they were far apart in their expectations for a contract, there was a possibility that Freeman could leave.
Oakland A’s get impressive haul for Matt Olson
While they have their replacement in Olson, it did not come cheaply. The A’s received an impressive haul, as they will get outfielder Christian Pache, catching prospect Shea Langeliers, and pitchers Ryan Cusick and Joey Estes. According to Fangraphs, the A’s received two top 100 prospects in Pache and Langeliers, and four of the Braves’ top 14 prospects per MLB.com.
Pache has seen time in the majors already, but has not exactly impressed with the bat. He has a .119/.157/.209 batting line in 72 plate appearances, hitting a homer and three doubles while striking out 27 times. Those swing and miss issues have been a problem at times in his minor league career, but if he can adjust, Pache has the potential to be a 20 homer bat and a potential Gold Glove outfielder.
Langeliers is another player whose calling card is his glove. He is also considered a future Gold Glove winner, with soft hands, excellent agility, and an impressive throwing arm. While he does have contact issues, he has also made adjustments to refine his swing and has worked on taking balls on the outer half of the plate to the opposite field. If his bat can continue to develop, Langeliers could be a star.
Cusick has an intriguing four pitch mix that is headlined by an impressive fastball. That fastball sits in the upper 90s and has been clocked as high as 102 MPH with impressive spin rates. He has a curve that has finally emerged as a viable second option, and as it continues to develop, could be another plus offering. Cusick’s arsenal is rounded out by a fringy slider that can get a bit loopy and a sinking changeup that also shows flashes of being a plus pitch.
Estes is a bit of a wild card. While he has been used as a starter, there is a distinct possibility that he could be a reliever in the majors. His fastball has the potential to be a plus offering, sitting in the mid 90s, and could probably add a couple of miles per hour in shorter stints. He has been working on a slider and a changeup, but both pitches are inconsistent at best at this point. The slider is the better offering when he stays on top of it, but that is not always the case.
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The Oakland A’s fire sale is in full swing. Matt Olson has been sent to the Atlanta Braves, with the A’s receiving an impressive package of prospects.