Braves, A’s Discussed Matt Olson Trade Prior To Lockout

When – or if – the brave will re-sign Freddy Freeman It’s been one of the most pressing issues on the minds of the Atlanta fan base for the better part of the year, but the 2020 NL MVP entered the current MLB shutdown as a free agent with no real sign of progress toward a return to Truist Park in sight. Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal wrote this morning that there is a clear incentive for Freeman or the brave to act quickly, one way or another, once the lockdown is finally over. Notably, Rosenthal reported that the Braves had already spoken to A about the possibility Matt Olson deal before closing (as previously suggested), adding that talks should not be written off as simple due diligence.

An early strike by Braves to take possession of Olson would go down as amazing. It was a firm belief that despite an alleged lack of traction in the talks, Freeman would eventually come to a deal to return to the same team he had played for the first ten seasons of a potential Hall of Fame career. The A’s has been widely expected to trade Olson, particularly in the wake of comments from GM David Forst that the team will listen to offers from all of its top players (in preparation for the salary cut). However, Freeman’s legacy in Atlanta made the Braves feel like a long shot, at best.

The 27-year-old Olson (March 28) has been prominently associated with the Yankees so far in the offseason, although much of the ink devoted to that fit has been speculative in nature. Rangers are among other clubs linked with Olson following a year in Auckland.

Olson, ranked 47th overall in 2012, cut his hitting rate dramatically last season without compromising anything in terms of power or walking rate. He’s splashed out on 26.1% of his career appearances before 2021, including his worst career clip at 31.4% in 2020, but he’s trimmed that percentage down to 16.8% this past season. Meanwhile, he ran a 13.1% average and scored 39 home runs and 35 doubles – all while playing an outstanding first base defense. It was in control for two more seasons before the free agency and MLBTR contributor Matt Schwartz predicted that he would earn $12 million next year in the first of those two campaigns.

If the Braves made the unpopular decision to move on from Freeman, Olson would represent the best choice—at least among the reasonably available targets in the free agency and in the commercial market. Alternatives like Free Agent Anthony Rizzo or trade filter luke you It will have less effect. However, Olson’s forecast of $12 million for 2021’s salary is more than double last season’s $5 million salary, and he’ll be ready for a massive raise similar to the 2023 campaign before he hits a free agency in a much better way. The position currently occupied by Freeman.

While Freeman, of course, has the longest running track record, Olson stands to make it to the open market ahead of a 30-year-old season. Freeman will play the bulk of next season at 32 before turning 33 in September. If Olson continues at his pace in 2021 – or something close to it – he could seek a contract of greater length and/or overall value than Freeman is currently looking for; Extending Olson wouldn’t be much cheaper, given his youth mix, recent track record, and relative proximity to the open market.

Also important to consider is the massive asking price that is sure to be placed on Olson. John Heyman of MLB Network chirp A couple of months ago, athletics was “looking to the moon” in any Olson-related conversations – understandably so. It’s increasingly rare in MLB to see a player of this caliber, with so much control remaining at the club, actually turn into the trade market. Using FanGraphs’ win over substitution as a loose yardstick, Olson would be the 3rd best player (based on 2019-21 WAR) with several years of control left to be traded over the past three years. one of the two names before him, Nolan Arenado, not really comparable given that he’s already been signed to a huge stretch that has affected the nature of business talks between the Rockies and Cardinals.

Another name that precedes Olson in the World War II rankings is perhaps the best and most recent direct to compare: Phillies catcher JT Realmoto. The Phils surrendered one of the top 15 overall baseball odds (Sixto Sanchez), plus an immediate MLB-ready alternative (Jorge Alfaro, which was recently ranked as a top potential customer) and a strong mid-level regulatory arm in the left Will Stewart. Mars starling He was traded from Pittsburgh to Arizona when he had two years left on his contract, netting the Bucs now in the top 100 odds. To save Biggero And setting up the possibility Brennan Malone. However, Marte was 31 at the time of that trade and wasn’t nearly as coming into a season as Olson’s 2021 show.

Simply put, the package to be obtained from Olson should significantly outpace what Bucs got for Marte, and arguably should bring in more than Realmuto did. That’s not to say Olson’s bundle will be a direct, apple-to-apple comparison with Realmuto’s swap – but rather to illustrate the great value that a player of this caliber holds when he has several years of control left. Certainly, packages will vary. For example, Atlanta doesn’t have anyone as highly respected as Sanchez at the time of that deal. A can have different priorities than Marlins, too; They’re certainly going to demand a premium headliner but they’ve also been known to take volume-based approaches from MLB-ready talent rather than rigidly composed packages from the far-flung but high-altitude small leagues. (See their return packages for Josh Donaldson, Jeff Samardziga, Sonny Gray, Rich Hill/Josh Riddick, Ryan Madson/Sean Doolittle and more.)

If the Braves’ primary fear regarding the Freeman deal is the length of the contract, as is often suggested, the Olson acquisition might be a slightly more acceptable way to bypass it — unless the front office is content to ship piles of young talent for a two-year lease and pick a later draft (if The qualifying bid scheme remained in place after the collective bargaining talks). In general, the types of contracts that Freeman is currently requesting and that Olson will likely seek in the near future are the same ones Alex Antopoulos, Atlanta’s chief of baseball operations, has shunned since his appointment in November 2017.

While the Braves parted ways with their aversion to long-term commitments at last winter’s ill-fated re-signing. Marcel Ozuna (Four years, $65 million), even that contract didn’t materialize until after Ozuna couldn’t secure the fifth year he had originally sought. Outside of that four-year agreement, the Braves demonstrated a strong preference for short-term deals, often with excellent annual values—a philosophy similar to that of the Dodgers, with Anthopoulos serving as the senior vice president of baseball operations prior to his appointment to Atlanta. will SmithThe three-year, $39 million deal is the second largest free agent deal awarded under Atlanta’s Anthopoulos. The only times he’s gone five or more years have been in group friendly deals for young stars Ronald Akuna Jr. And Ozzy Albis.

It’s not known if the Braves are willing to break that mold for Freeman, but it’s worth noting that they’ve been in talks with A about a possible alternative. Perhaps even more telling, Rosenthal suggests, is that either Freeman or the Braves could move quickly in a new direction after the lockdown after spending the past 12 months in a staring contest.

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