The New York Yankees are reportedly interested in Oakland A’s first baseman Matt Olson.
Matt Olson is on the trade market thanks to the Triannual Oakland Athletics fire sale, and the New York Yankees are interested.
SNY’s Andy Martino reports Oakland’s star first baseman was “there for the taking” if the Bronx Bombers are interested. Similarly, Brendan Kuty of NJ.com states the team has already “internally discussed” Olson’s availability, but also haven’t ruled out re-signing Anthony Rizzo.
Former Cincinnati Reds GM Jim Bowden went a step further in a piece for The Athletic and put together a trade proposal himself. The Yankees receive Olson, and Oakland receives Luke Voit, Gleyber Torres, and Domingo German.
Matt Olson is good, quite possibly that good. Yet, he isn’t good enough for New York to give up an infielder still loaded with potential.
Rather, let’s take a shot ourselves at building a proper deal.
Matt Olson by the numbers
Matt Olson is, in a word, perfect for Yankee Stadium. His left-handed power combined with the short porch in right field balances the lineup and boosts the Yankees’ offense.
It also helps that Olson is coming off of a career season. He hit .271 with 39 home runs and 111 RBI in 2021, all career highs. His strikeout rate (K%) was also a career-best 16.8%, well below his career mark of 23%.
Olson is also capable with the glove, having posted a +6 DRS at first base. Throw in his durability, and he’s already an upgrade over the streaky likes of Voit. He’s also nearly five years younger than Rizzo, earned $5 million last season, and has two years of arbitration left.
Will he be cheap? No, but the New York Yankees really need stability at first base, and have for years.
Let’s make the deal
So for the baseline of this potential deal for Matt Olson, we’re going to use the Sonny Gray trade. The Yankees sent outfielders Dustin Fowler and Jorge Mateo to Oakland along with pitcher James Kaprielian, who posted a 4.07 ERA in 21 starts in 2021.
Here’s the catch. At the time of the trade, both Fowler and Kaprielian had already been ruled out for the season with injuries. The A’s could have asked for Clint Frazier or Gleyber Torres, who were then top Yankees prospects. Instead, Brian Cashman convinced Billy Beane to just restock the farm system for a couple of years down the road rather than seek young talent who could play in MLB immediately, but whose sole purpose would just be selling tickets.
Anyway, now for the deal:
- Yankees receive: 1B Matt Olson, RHP Jorge Juan
- A’s receive: 1B Luke Voit, RHP Domingo German, RHP Luis Medina, OF Everson Pereira, RHP Matt Sauer
It may seem one-sided in the Yankees’ favor, but that’s just how Cashman works. Look at the deals he made for Rizzo and Joey Gallo. The Yankees didn’t give up any prospects on the cusp of debuting and received a balanced lineup in return. Think of this trade as something similar.
Moreover, Voit led the majors in home runs during the shortened 2020 season. He has three years of arbitration left and won’t be cheap, but gives Oakland a respectable lineup presence during the rebuild. On the pitching side, German can serve in a number of roles and Medina is the No. 8 prospect in the system. The 22-year-old posted a 3.81 ERA across two minor league levels in 2021 and could be a viable starter once he decreases his walks.
As for Pereira and Sauer, consider them depth thrown in to sweeten the deal.
Obviously, to say a deal is imminent would be premature. The current CBA expires in less than a month and what happens between now and Dec. 2 is anybody’s guess.
But if the New York Yankees want to shore up some roster needs ahead of a potential lockout, Matt Olson would be a great fit. It all depends on Oakland’s demands, but the man was practically designed to be a Yankee.
Powerful lefty swing? Check. Not a walking disaster in the field? Check. Isn’t on the disabled list so often that he has a lease on a one-bedroom there? Check!
There’s a deal to be made if both parties are interested. Now, it’s just a matter of coming to an agreement.
Cashman, your move.