From multiple reports, we can piece the situation around Freddie Freeman‘s free agency together. It doesn’t look like there has been much progress in talks between the Braves and Freeman. That’s not great, and several other teams are interested, including high profile organizations with deep pockets like the Yankees and Dodgers. Most still believe Freeman will end up staying in Atlanta, but the Braves won’t be caught off guard if he decides to depart for greener pastures.
According to multiple sources, the Braves have checked in on the A’s superstar first baseman Matt Olson.
Braves have checked in on A’s star 1B Matt Olson, presumably as a contingency plan in case Freddie Freeman leaves via free agency. Most still have a hard time envisioning Freeman in any other uniform but Braves want to be prepared.
— Jon Heyman (@JonHeyman) December 1, 2021
Hearing the 1B market is very fluid. With Freeman unsigned, Matt Olson has become at least an exploritary target for ATL. The sense is Freeman returns but far from a conclusion. Padres are another team I’ve heard discuss Olson with A’s but would be tough due to price + Hosmer https://t.co/pOnAraFwZV
— Dan Federico (@DanJFederico) November 30, 2021
This would be something. Losing Freeman would feel like a gut-punch to all of Braves Country, but if Alex Anthopoulos was able to pull off a trade for Olson, the fan base would feel a lot better very quickly.
Freeman is an MVP and a World Series champ, but Olson might actually be better, and he’s just entering his prime at 27-years-old. Last season for the A’s, Olson mashed 39 homers and recorded an OPS of .911, finishing 8th in the AL MVP race. Keep in mind, he was also playing half of his games in Oakland, which is a huge ballpark. With a short porch at Truist Park in right field, Olson would be a candidate to mash 50 homers. His contract is also much more manageable than whatever Freeman will end up signing for.
Olson is arb-eligible for two more years. He’s projected to earn $12 million in 2022 and will probably earn somewhere north of $20 million in 2023 if he continues to trend upwards. That’s not cheap, but it’s also pennies compared to the production he will provide in a Braves uniform. The real concern would be the prospect haul required to acquire Olson, which would likely be a king’s ransom.
As great as Olson would be, Freeman is still priority number one. If he can be had on a six-year deal, the Braves have to get that done. However, if they lose out on Freeman, Olson isn’t too shabby of a backup plan.