Baseball

Matt Olson to the Yankees? It Makes Sense.

Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

After a disappointing finish to the 2021 season that kept them out of the playoffs, the Oakland A’s could look very different headed into next year. Long time manager Bob Melvin is now with the San Diego Padres, Trade deadline acquisitions Starling Marte and Josh Harrison will likely hit the market, along with team staples Mark Canha and Jed Lowrie. But perhaps the biggest news involves the rumors surrounding 2 time Gold Glove first baseman Matt Olson.

Olson has handled first base duties for the A’s his entire six year career, and has one year left on his current deal. The 2021 All Star has quietly become one of the best fielding first baseman in the entire league, and is coming off perhaps the best year he has ever had at the plate, with a .271 average, 39 Home Runs, and 111 RBI’s, all of which are career bests. Of course, the A’s have developed a reputation for either trading or letting their stars walk when they are at their peak value. Josh Donaldson, Marcus Semien, and Yoenis Cespedes are just a few of the names who left Oakland after productive years, all replaced by prospects or players that would cost far less to sign. While a new contract may be a little too rich for Oakland’s blood, there is a team in win-now mode who needs everything Olson has to offer.

Why the Trade Makes Sense

Yankees Side

The New York Yankees are coming off a rather disappointing year that has left them with a lot of question marks in the offseason. After a 6-2 loss in the Wild Card game to the Red Sox, it has become clear the Yankees are in need of some splashy acquisitions in order to remain in the AL playoff picture. First base was a sore spot all year, as both Luke Voit and DJ LeMahieu struggled to provide any type of consistency at the position throughout the first half of the year. This led to a deadline trade for Cubs lefty Anthony Rizzo in an effort to establish a permanent presence at the position. While Rizzo played well overall, it is still unclear if he can be a long term solution as a 32 year old free agent. With other needs that need to be addressed, including a dire need for a shortstop and another starting pitcher, it may not be in the Yankees best interest to get into a bidding war for a free agent first baseman.

That’s where Matt Olson steps into the picture. Since Olson is in the last year of his current deal, all it would take is a trade to get him to New York, which allows the Yankees to avoid a bidding war. New York is looking for a left handed hitter to exploit the short porch at Yankee Stadium who plays solid defense and is an everyday player who provides consistency to the infield lineup. Olson checks every one of those boxes with ease.

A’s Side

On the flip side, the A’s love to collect prospects, and the Yankees minor league system is flushed with exceptional talent, including multiple top tier shortstop and pitching prospects who aren’t quite ready for the show yet, but could develop into great players in just a few years. The Yankees are in win-now mode with top prospects who are not quite ready yet, while the A’s have an elite first baseman and an affinity for prospects. It seems like both sides would get everything they could possibly want, making it the most obvious and logical destination for Matt Olson.

No matter what happens, the A’s must trade Olson this year if they do not intend to sign him to a long term deal. The worst case scenario would be losing him at the end of the year for absolutely nothing, especially if  the team misses the playoffs again. With a new manager and a slew of free agents, it seems like the perfect time to rebuild. Trading Matt Olson to the Yankees is the perfect way to kick off that process.

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