Whether fans want the New York Yankees to sign Freddie Freeman or trade for Matt Olson, the sentiment remains the same: it’s probably gotta be one of those two guys if there’s no grand plan to upgrade elsewhere, specifically at shortstop.
So what’ll it be? $180-plus million for Freeman or a blockbuster trade for Olson when the lockout ends? Because it can’t be Luke Voit or Anthony Rizzo if everything else remains relatively the same.
It depends on whether the Yankees want to get in a bidding war for just money alone or prospects and a little bit of money (Olson will more than likely take home $28 million total over the next two seasons).
As for Freeman, his market is limited because only a select few teams will pay that hefty price of ~$30 million per season. As for Olson, plenty of other clubs have the bandwidth to part with prospects and inherit limited salary over the next two seasons, which poses a bit of an issue for the Bombers.
New York is already hesitant to surrender top talent, if we’re to believe a recent report suggesting they were unwilling to include even Oswald Peraza in trade with the Oakland Athletics for Olson in preliminary discussions.
That means if more teams enter the Olson sweepstakes, the competition may sway further out of the Yankees’ favor. And there’s been some chatter the Texas Rangers might be another team eyeing Olson.
A convoluted Matt Olson market is bad news for the Yankees.
According to Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News (subscription required), the Rangers “will absolutely call to check in on Oakland’s willingness to trade Olson” and “have already begun investigating” what the asking price might be for the star first baseman.
Now, the Yankees might take comfort in the fact that the A’s might not trade Olson within their division, but did we forget New York just helped Texas stock their farm system in the Joey Gallo trade? What if the Rangers can provide a better package than the Yanks (or are more willing to do so)? A’s general manager Billy Beane will be pouncing on the best possible offer.
Three of the four prospects traded to Texas in the Gallo deal are within the Rangers’ top 13 and one of them (Glenn Otto) is already at the MLB level.
Though the Yankees have been largely hesitant to get into free agency bidding wars, it’s more than likely at this point they’d prefer that than giving up more young talent than they need to, especially when similar talent is available for money alone.
For all the Freeman-to-the-Yanks supporters out there, this provides another ray of hope for a post-lockout blockbuster signing.