The defending World Series champion Atlanta Braves have a new first baseman in Matt Olson.
ESPN’s Jeff Passan reports that the Braves have acquired Olson from the Oakland Athletics for a massive haul of four prospects, including two of the best youngsters in Atlanta’s organization.
The reports notes that outfielder Cristian Pache and catcher Shea Langeliers headline the names going back to Oakland. We’ll have a bit more on that below. However, there’s a lot more to look at when it comes to the Braves’ acquisition of Matt Olson.
First off, this now seems to be a clear indication that star Braves first baseman Freddie Freeman is headed out of town. The prized free agent continues to be linked to the Los Angeles Dodgers following the end of the lockout.
Atlanta Braves to replace Freddie Freeman with Matt Olson
A veteran of the Braves for the past 12 seasons, Freeman has been the face of the franchise during that span. He earned NL MVP honors during the truncated 60-game 2020 season.
Last season saw Freeman hit .300 with 31 homers and 83 RBI en route to helping lead Atlanta to the World Series title.
As for Olson, he’s coming off a brilliant season for the A’s.
- Matt Olson stats (2021): .271 average, 39 HR, 111 RBI, .911 OPS
In addition to his stellar performance at the plate, Olson is considered one of the best defensive players at his position in MLB.
Oakland Athletics’ haul in Matt Olson trade
As noted above, the A’s acquired four prospects in the trade. Baseball America has Langeliers as the No. 2 prospect in the Braves’ organization with Pache ranked third.
Two other names heading to Oakland are pitchers Ryan Cusick and Joey Estes who were ranked ninth and 14th in the Braves’ system, respectively.
For an A’s team that’s in fire sale mode, getting MLB-ready talent was key here. Pache saw a cup of tea with the Braves last season while Shea Langeliers saw time in Triple-A last season.
As for the pitchers, Cusick was a first-round pick of the Braves in the 2021 MLB Draft. He’s likely ways away from the majors. The same thing can be said about Estes.