Freddie Freeman likely on the move after Braves acquire Matt Olson from the Athletics
The Braves have acquired power hitting first basemen Matt Olson from the A’s in return for a handful of promising prospects signaling the end of the Freddie Freeman era in Atlanta.
For months now there have been rumors that Freeman (represented by Excel Sports Mgmt) and the Braves were far apart on both contract length and AAV. The 2020 NL MVP was the face of the franchise and played like it producing between 3-6 WAR in 9 straight seasons.
While Phillies fans wait not so patiently for their own team to make a major move, watching a certified Phillies killer leave the division never hurts. Freeman slashed .298/.398/.455 with 30 HR and 120 RBI over 194 career games against the Phillies. Rumors have the Dodgers and Yankees as the leading candidates to land Freeman’s services.
Despite what is sure to be strong criticism around the league, this is a smart move by Atlanta. In Olson, the Braves are acquiring a worthy replacement for Freeman who is four years younger and under arbitration control for an additional two seasons.
Olson, an Atlanta native, is a two-time gold glove winner who is coming off a career year in 2021 that saw him slash .271/.371/.540 and produce 5.8 WAR while playing in a massive pitchers park.
Over the next two seasons the Braves will owe Olson less that one season of what it would cost to retain Freeman, while eschewing the negative long-term risk of handing an 8-10 year contract to a 32 year-old. Yes, they gave up multiple former 1st round picks, albeit guys that have never produced at the big league level.
This is the exact type of move the Phillies would be smart to make. They have reportedly been connected with another A’s all-star in third basemen Matt Chapman. Recent reports have the Phillies unwilling to part with top prospects such as Bryson Stott and Andrew Painter
It’s another wonderful example of how bad the Phillies have been at developing organizational talent. They are so close to being a force in the playoffs yet are unable to improve the team unless through pricey contracts for big-ticket free agents.