Coming off an unforgettable World Series title, life without Freddie Freeman is something no Braves fan wanted to think about. However, now that it is here, most level-headed fans can agree, it’s not so bad. Without sounding too salty, it might actually be better — like, a lot better.
Before Freeman had a chance to spurn the Braves, Alex Anthopoulos acted in the best interest of the organization, trading a bevy of prospects for the highly-coveted Matt Olson. Olson — a two-time Gold Glove first baseman — is fresh off a season in which he slugged 39 home runs for the A’s and drove in over 100 runs, but that’s not even the best part. Olson is five years younger than Freeman, and within 24 hours of the trade, Anthopoulos was able to lock him up for at least the next eight seasons at a lower AAV than what Freeman signed for with the Dodgers.
Emotionally, the loss of Freeman still stings Braves Country, and it should. He’s been the face of the franchise for a decade. But that, my friends, is exactly how you play Moneyball. There is no doubt in my mind the Braves are in a better position with Olson over the next eight years than they would have been with Freeman, and I’m not the only one in this camp. On MLB Network yesterday, Carlos Pena agreed, stating Olson is younger and has a higher ceiling, which makes the Braves a better team now and in the future.
Despite loving Freddie Freeman as a 1st baseman, Carlos Peña believes Matt Olson's age and higher ceiling makes the Braves a better team.
(via @MLBNetwork) pic.twitter.com/mXiiw1CksR
— FOX Sports: MLB (@MLBONFOX) March 23, 2022
Olson and Freeman could have comparable seasons in 2022. There’s a chance Freeman is even a bit better, but Olson will provide more value because of his contract. The Braves are only paying him $15 million this season, which allowed them to sign another key piece to the team, like Kenley Jansen.
On top of that, because of Olson’s age, he’s much more likely to ascend. While I think Freeman has a game that can stick around awhile, eventually, he will begin to descend, and it could happen quicker than we all expect. Emotions aside, there’s no doubt the Braves came out winners in all of this, and it will show throughout the rest of this decade.
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