Cue the New York Yankees haters ready to whip out their, “Yeah, Clint Frazier and Miguel Andújar aren’t going to get this trade done!” commentary. Hilarious. Never before in MLB history has a team tried to sell high on a couple of intriguing assets. Apologies.
Anyway, Yankees Twitter (and many others) have posed the question about New York attempting to strike a deal with the Oakland Athletics involving lefty slugging first baseman Matt Olson. Is he available via trade? Not that we know of definitively.
But aren’t all A’s players unofficially on the trade block at any given time? They traded MVP candidate Josh Donaldson to the Blue Jays years back. They traded 26-year-old All-Star Mark Mulder back in 2004. This is their DNA.
Oakland sells high on players before ownership is saddled with increasing arbitration salaries or contract conundrums. And Olson falls right in line with that.
He took home a $5 million salary in 2021, but that number stands to drastically increase after his impressive season, which featured 39 homers, 111 RBI, a 153 OPS+ and 6 Defensive Runs Saved at first base. The A’s might be paying him north of $10 million in 2022.
And for a team that could lose Starling Marte, Mark Canha, Yan Gomes, Yusmeiro Petit, Sergio Romo, Mitch Moreland, Josh Harrison, Jed Lowrie and potentially others to free agency, why wouldn’t Oakland consider a mini re-tool by selling their best player from 2021 if the pieces around him in 2022 won’t be enough to make a playoff run?
What would a Yankees/Athletics trade for Matt Olson look like?
This is not a Spoiled Yankees Fan thinking he/she can get whatever player they want in a trade. The A’s willingly trade good players. They don’t have the budget to afford superstars or those with the highest arbitration figures. This isn’t out of the question.
What would be out of the question is offering the A’s bargain bin players in exchange for Olson. But the Yankees can’t get away with that. This is Billy Beane. He knows exactly what he wants and he’ll probably get it. But we can formulate a few trade packages ourselves, can’t we?
3. Luke Voit, Aaron Hicks and Oswald Peraza for Matt Olson
The Luke Voit relationship has been soured. He has to go. And he’d be a solid replacement for Olson. Voit hits for power and has been an impactful offensive player when healthy. He’s not the greatest defensively, but you’re not getting an Olson for Olson swap here.
After making $4.7 million in 2021, Voit will have rising arbitration salaries, but they won’t be nearly as drastic as Olson’s, and Voit’s under club control through 2024. That’s one more year than Olson and a guaranteed cheaper option.
As for Peraza, the Yankee simply have to part with one of their top shortstop prospects, and Peraza at No. 3 gives the A’s someone who could be MLB-ready by 2022. He rocketed through the minors this past season and showed potential to be a five-tool player. Have him working alongside Elvis Andrus and you could develop your shortstop of the future.
And finally, Aaron Hicks. Not an ideal trade candidate whatsoever … but what if the Yankees ate like $20 million of his contract? That would give the A’s a switch-hitting veteran outfielder for between $5-$7 million per season through 2025. That’s right up their alley. A somewhat cost-effective veteran who can help the incoming youngsters and provide OBP value.
If that’s not enough, then toss in outfielder Estevan Florial or pitcher Deivi Garcia, two MLB-ready talents that need some tweaking.