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A’s trade 1B Matt Olson to Braves; Freddie Freeman’s future up in air

Sep 16, 2021; Kansas City, Missouri, USA; Oakland Athletics first baseman Matt Olson (28) reacts during the third inning against the Kansas City Royals at Kauffman Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports
Credit: Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports

The Oakland Athletics are sending first baseman Matt Olson to the Braves for four prospects, signaling first baseman Freddie Freeman’s time in Atlanta is over.

In return, the A’s will receive outfielder Cristian Pache, catcher Shea Langeliers, and right-handed pitchers Ryan Cusick and Joey Estes. Pache is the Braves No. 1 prospect, Langeliers is No. 2, Cusick is No. 6 and Estes is No. 14, according to MLB.com.

Freeman is a free agent, and he and the Braves didn’t reach agreement before the MLB lockout in December. Rumors have been swirling since the lockout was lifted late last week that Freeman, a native Southern Californian and the 2020 National League MVP, could wind up with the Los Angeles Dodgers. The New York Yankees are among other teams reportedly interested in Freeman.

Olson, 27, played five-plus seasons with the A’s. A two-time Gold Glove winner, Olson was a first-time All-Star in 2021 and finished eighth in American League MVP balloting.

Olson had a stellar season in 2021, batting .271, and tallying 35 doubles, 39 home runs and 111 RBIs — all career highs — in 156 games. He struck own 113 times, slashing 50 off his career high of 163 in 2018.

A native of Atlanta, Olson has hit .252 with 142 homers and 373 RBIs over 575 games.

The trade of Olson is the latest indication the A’s are entering a rebuild.

On Saturday, they traded All-Star right-hander Chris Bassitt to the New York Mets for two pitching prospects. They’re also reportedly floated left-hander Sean Manaea.

Pache, 23, appeared in 22 games last season with the Braves, hitting .111 with one home run and four RBIs in 63 at-bats. At Triple-A Gwinnett, he hit .265 with 15 doubles, 11 homers and 44 RBIs in 89 games.

Langeliers, 24, spent the bulk of last season at Double-A Mississippi and a handful at Gwinnett. Between the two stops, he hit .256 with 22 home runs and 53 RBIs in 97 games.

Cusick 22, started six games for Single-A Augusta, compiling an 0-1 record and 2.76 ERA last season. In 16.1 innings, he struck out 34 and walked four.

Estes, 20, also pitched for Augusta in 2021, starting 20 games. He was 2-6 with a 2.91 ERA in 99 innings, striking out 127 batters and holding his opponents to a .184 average.

–Field Level Media