Once the lockout ends, the Braves will have to make one of the biggest decisions in franchise history, whether or not to re-sign Freddie Freeman. The Braves’ first baseman is an unrestricted free agent for the first time in his career, and Ken Rosenthal believes a decision could come very quickly once it is allowed. Freeman will either accept the highest offer while he has the most leverage, or the Braves might act first as Freeman remains a free agent and they still have some leverage in a potential trade.
One of those potential trade targets is Oakland’s first baseman, Matt Olson. Olson is one of the premier players at the position, and he’s just entering his prime. A deal wouldn’t come cheap as far as prospects are concerned, but it’s something that seems to intrigue the Braves. Rosenthal confirms in his most recent piece that the Braves and A’s have had trade talks regarding Olson.
For the Braves, the pre-emptive strike would be a trade for Athletics first baseman Matt Olson, a move that, according to sources, they discussed with the A’s before the start of the lockout. The conversations cannot be dismissed as mere due diligence. Once the free-agent market opened, the Braves faced the possible loss of Freeman, 32, at any moment.
Olson is an attractive trade piece, and given the A’s track record, I expect them to move him sooner rather than later. Any team with a hole at first base should be interested, and the Braves have a gaping one.
There’s no reason Freeman shouldn’t be the Braves’ top priority. As good as Olson was last season, Freeman’s been putting up those kinds of numbers for a decade. He’s the best first baseman in the game and will cost the Braves no prospects. There’s no other way to put it: losing out on Freeman in free agency would be a gut-punch to the entire organization. But picking up Olson in a trade would be quite the consolation prize.