Who’s it going to be? Anthony Rizzo making a return? Freddie Freeman securing the bag spurning the Atlanta Braves in epic fashion? The Oakland Athletics agreeing to send Matt Olson across the country in a blockbuster trade? (Yeah, Luke Voit is probably ruled out here, unfortunately.)
Whatever route the New York Yankees decide to take at first base, it’ll be hard for fans to be upset. That is, of course, unless they re-up with Rizzo and fail to upgrade elsewhere, since getting the Plan C at first base would indicate there’s more room for spending/trades to help with other areas of the roster.
Nonetheless, Olson’s remained a hot topic because the Yankees also need pitching, which would allow them to make a more expansive trade with the A’s to fill two needs in one deal.
Whenever you have the chance to acquire one of the best lefty slugging first baseman in the game and get a potential No. 2 starter, it’s a trade that must be considered, even if the asking price is a bit uncomfortable.
MLB insider Jim Bowden believes the Yankees feel that way about the potential cost, but he also thinks they have enough organizational depth.
But we do have to ask: what would Yankees fans feel comfortable with surrendering in such a trade?
Per Bowden (subscription required) in his recent trade scenarios piece, here’s how he responded to an expanded package involving Olson:
"“Yankees trade SS Oswald Peraza, RHP Luis Gil, RHP Yoendrys Gomez and C Austin Wells to A’s for 1B Matt Olson and a pitcher — Greg B.“This trade would land Matt Olson for the Yankees, but the price is too steep from their perspective, unless the pitcher coming back in the deal is Bassitt. Otherwise, I think a package of Peraza and Gil is probably close to a fair offer for Olson; maybe the Yankees would have to throw in righty Randy Vasquez or righty Beck Way to close the deal.”"
It seems the going rate is going to be two top-five prospects for Olson (and possibly another top-25). If the expanded deal includes Chris Bassitt, Sean Manaea or Frankie Montas, then you’re looking at four top-10 prospects. The kicker is here is that the Yanks would be getting two years of Olson and Montas, and one for Bassitt and Manaea, meaning it might cost more for an Olson/Montas package.
MLB insiders and pundits have had longer than usual to formulate proposals and examine the potential costs due to the lockout, so it seems we’re getting a clearer picture of what the Yankees might have to surrender in a deal like this. But preference is still an important aspect of it because some folks might not be keen on dumping four top prospects if they’re not liking the outlook of this 2022 roster. And we can definitely understand that because the Yankees are going to have to make all the right moves to get back on top.