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The Atlanta Braves have a Freddie Freeman replacement in mind — Oakland Athletics first baseman Matt Olson. He’s expensive, though.
Olson could be acquired via trade if Atlanta fails to sign Freeman once the lockout ends. With the players and owners meeting more frequently, the front office must be ready to act on the Freeman front.
Per Ken Rosenthal, the Braves and A’s had trade talks regarding Olson before the lockout. Consider it Atlanta doing their due diligence.
Nonetheless, Freeman won’t take too kindly to that. If he opts to sign elsewhere or feels undervalued given Atlanta doesn’t want to offer him a sixth year, Atlanta has to be ready to follow through on their threat.
Braves: Hypothetical trade for Matt Olson
Olson grew up in the Peach State, and he’s far cheaper and younger than Freeman at this juncture. A trade does make sense, and at this point there isn’t a significant drop-off from Freeman to his younger counterpart.
Because of Olson’s contract status — he’s under team control for quite some time — the Braves would have to pay a small fortune in prospects for his services.
1B, Matt Olson
OF, Cristian Pache
RHP, Ryan Cusik
RHP, Joey Estes
1B/OF, Greyson Jenista
Pache is the Braves’ top-ranked prospect, and he’s MLB-ready. The 23-year-old has struggled to adapt at the dish, but he’d get a chance to play right away in Oakland. Cusik and Estes are both top-15 pitching prospects in the Braves system, while Jenista is the Braves’ top-ranked first base prospect.
Safe to say, it’s a lot. But that’s the kind of trade package it takes to pry away an All-Star level player with years of control left on his deal. Olson is one of the best all-around first basemen in baseball. In fact, he’s comparable to a younger version of Freeman.
The more savvy move would be to either give Freeman his extra year, or perhaps sign Anthony Rizzo to a cheaper deal with less of a contract timetable. It’s just money, after all.
But if Atlanta really is keen on Olson, it’ll take similar prospect capital to what’s shown above.