We can dance around things as much as we might want, but after thousands of permutations, the only two ways the Yankees can have a truly successful offseason are:
- Yankees sign Carlos Correa or Trevor Story
- Yankees trade for Matt Olson or sign Freddie Freeman
The shortstop conundrum seems to have already been somewhat sorted. Correa has chosen Scott Boras, and will therefore not be choosing the Yankees. The team could opt for Story, but it seemed like he was close to finalizing something out west before the lockout began, and it would be a fairly grand departure for that all to change now.
So, cancel shortstop. What’s next?
In terms of the dueling first basemen, a Matt Olson trade has always felt like the simple cherry the Yankees could fairly effortlessly place atop their offseason — and they should add an A’s pitcher to the conversation, while they’re at it.
But, tale as old as time: the Yankees didn’t finish the job when they had the chance to long before the lockout hit. And now, they’ve opened up the door to other teams with first base worries to step on in.
Namely, the Atlanta Braves, who could theoretically re-sign Freeman and stop him from heading to the Dodgers (or, the Yankees, meekly standing in the back). To create leverage for themselves — and to inadvertently shove the Yanks further to the margins — it turns out Atlanta discussed Olson, too, something we’ve long speculated about but are only now receiving proof of.
The Atlanta Braves could pivot the Matt Olson trade rumors away from the Yankees
According to Rosenthal’s latest, Olson — from the Atlanta area and well younger than Freeman — might be the Braves’ chosen form of vengeance for the sour tone the extension talks have taken ever since the World Series wrapped.
The Braves talked about Olson before the lockout hit, and according to The Athletic’s MLB insider, they might’ve gleaned enough information from those initial talks to finalize something relatively quickly and send Freeman reeling once the action resumes.
Of course, that sort of preemptive strike would theoretically leave Freeman floating out in the ether for the Yankees to obtain … but we all know they won’t make a six-year commitment approaching $200 million for a shortstop, so why would they cut the Dodgers in line and make an exception for Freeman?
No, no, Atlanta’s quick-strike maneuver here would send Anthony Rizzo back to the Yankees, and that would be the end of it. Any conversations between Brian Cashman and the A’s would suddenly become Matt Chapman talks.
Here’s to hoping the Yankees’ front office moves quicker than Atlanta’s appetite for revenge does.