Tuesday, March 15, 2022
As it usually goes for a reigning World Series champ, the Braves farm system is far from what it was just a few years ago. And that trend certainly continued following Monday’s monster trade, when Atlanta sent Cristian Pache, Shea Langeliers, Joey Estes and Ryan Cusick to Oakland in exchange for Matt Olson. Barring a miracle like nonother, Freddie Freeman is now officially a goner, most likely days or hours… or even minutes away from signing with a brand-new team. For a dozen seasons we were blessed enough to have Freddie in our organization. From a young rookie sensation, to a player in his prime tasked with guiding the club through its rebuilding years, all the way to the now veteran coming off a World Series title, Freddie Freeman was and is exactly who you want on your team.
But I’ll tell you another one we should all appreciate, and that’s GM Alex Anthopoulos. As if landing one of the premier first baseman off the trade block yesterday wasn’t enough, today the Braves GM locked up Olsen for at least the next eight seasons. Just minutes ago, MLB Trade Rumors announced that Atlanta and Olson have come to an agreement on an eight-year, $168 million contract that also comes along with a $20-million club option for a ninth season.
Olson, who’s four years younger than Freeman, will play ball for the Braves much more affordable price over the life of this contract, compared to what Freddie is expected to earn in AAV on his next deal, giving the team some much needed payroll space for other needs in the near future. Per MLBTR, Olson will earn $15 million in salary this coming season, followed by $23M in 2023. The last six years of the contract the Georgia native will make $22M. If you recall, as expected Freddie rejected an $18.4 million qualifying offer last November, and according to many sources, was commanding a contract north of $200 million (and six years in length) to stay with the Braves.
The logic is simple here: in Olsen, the Braves are getting a player with still two more seasons in his 20s, for much longer than they could afford to re-sign the 32-year-old Freeman, which is pretty savvy given the fact Olsen is just as talented on the field, both offensively and with the glove. The newly signed first baseman did have a poor shortened 2020 campaign, but last year he was a 5-WAR player, thanks to a .271 AVG, 39 home runs and 111 RBI (146 wRC+) in 156 games with Oakland. If you didn’t like Monday’s trade, I get it… but you have to feel better today now that AA has locked up Olson for the long haul.