9:09 a.m.: The Yankees considered the pre-lockdown athletics asking price to be far too high, tweet SNY’s Andy Martino, who adds that the Yanks have made it clear they won’t include the top shortstop prospect Antoine Volpe in a potential deal.
7:45 a.m.: The lockout is over, and in the coming days the dam will break on a historic flood of deals. First athletics goal Matt Olson showcases a deep class of trade goals and serves as the focal point of a potential Athletics fire sale, which general manager David Forst hinted at in November when he acknowledged the team should listen to trade offers on the majority of his roster this winter. The Rangers and Yankees are already known to be among the teams interested in Olson, but their efforts to acquire him may now resume in earnest.
Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News reports that the Rangers planned to contact the A’s shortly after the lockdown was lifted to restart talks. Texas, however, should be confident in their ability to sign Olson for a contract extension before making a deal, according to Grant. Makes sense, because even after spending half a billion dollars to sign Corey Seager and Marcus Seeds, the Rangers are still far from fighting. Olson is only checked for two more seasons, and if a run in the playoffs in 2022 isn’t a legitimate possibility, then the prospect of only really having Olson for a year of serious contention would perhaps make the price sky-high. unpleasant prospects.
As for the Yankees, Erik Boland of Newsday tweet that Olson is their preferred option for an upgrade to first base. The Yanks currently have Luke you (a commercial candidate himself) and DJ LeMahieu as inside options, but Voit is coming off an injury-plagued season and doesn’t have nearly the same defensive prowess as Olson. LeMahieu looks for a rebound at home plate himself and is best deployed as a second or third baseman, where his glove is more valuable. As we explored during the lockdown, there are plenty of options for the Yankees, who would also have varying degrees of interest from free agents. Freddie Freeman and Anthony Rizo.
As for Rangers, don’t assume they’ll be on Freeman or Rizzo if they miss Olson. Grant characterizes Olson and left-handed Clayton Kershaw as something of a specialty goal for the Rangers, suggesting that if they fail to acquire one or both players, there may only be an additional $10-15 million in total spending for Texas this winter. Absent a deal for Olson, the Rangers would likely return first base to Nathaniel Lowewho had a solid year at the plate in 2021 (.264/.357/.415, 18 home runs).
Texas and New York will be just two of many teams interested in moving Olson away from Oakland. The Braves are also known to have some interest, but would likely only go on strike to acquire Olson if they knew for sure Freeman was headed elsewhere. Freeman, the 2020 NL MVP, has been linked to the Dodgers, Yankees, Blue Jays and even the Rays, who made him an offer before the lockout. The markets for the two star first basemen are inextricably linked, and with Freeman expected to move quickly to make a decision post-lockdown, Olson’s market may soon gain clarity.
While the A’s will listen more than Olson – Matt Chapman, Frankie Montas, Sean Manee, Chris Bassit, ramon laurano and Lou Trivino could also be commercialized – there’s no denying that Olson is the headliner of their options and, arguably, the entire commercial market. The 2021 All-Star and two-time Gold Glover hit a career-high 39 homers last year while posting the best overall production of his Major League tenure. Olson hit .271/.371/.540 and maintained a whopping 13.1% walk rate while simultaneously reducing his once problematic 31.4% strikeout rate in 2020 to 16.8%. He is projected by MLBTR contributor Matt Swartz to earn $12 million this coming season.