3 way-too-early Yankees’ offseason free agent/trade whiffs

3 of 3
Matt Olson #28 of the Atlanta Braves (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
Matt Olson #28 of the Atlanta Braves (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images) /

1. Matt Olson

No Yankees fan is necessarily upset that Anthony Rizzo is in the Bronx. In fact, many like him! He’s a really good baseball player. However, on top of being the third-best option available to the Yankees this offseason, there’s a question surrounding his vaccination status, which could drastically affect the Yankees when they head to Toronto play the Blue Jays nine times this year.

OK, fine, the Yankees didn’t want to invest $150 million or more in Freddie Freeman, who may not have wanted to come to New York anyway and is already in his age-32 season? Not the most egregious … but still kind of egregious since the franchise is valued at $7 billion!

But passing on Matt Olson, who would’ve only cost prospects, which the Yankees have PLENTY of, is starting to look like a massive oversight. Disclaimer: it’s very possible Olson, who is from Georgia, is very comfortable in Atlanta, which may play a significant role in his scorching-hot play. But right now he’s batting .452 with a 1.280 OPS, eight runs scored, two homers, two RBI and 11 walks in 12 games. He leads the NL in hits, doubles, average and on-base percentage. Of course, he’s playing his usual sterling defense.

Rizzo’s numbers are nothing to sneeze at, either. His defense has been life-saving at first base and he’s got three homers and eight RBI to go along with his .896 OPS. No issues there. However, he’s on a one-year deal (assuming he opts out for 2023, which is likely). The Yankees have no first base solution after this year, when they could’ve signed a 28-year-old Olson to an eight-year contract and settled the position for the next decade.

Maybe the A’s asked the Yankees for too much in a trade because the “equivalent” of the “ranked” prospects here weren’t exactly comparable (the Yankees’ farm system is much deeper and more talented than the Braves’). Or maybe Olson didn’t want a long-term deal in New York.

But we have no intel on that. The Yankees have said nothing. Insiders haven’t indicated anything of the sort. So the next natural instinct is to express outrage because … this team could’ve been either a lot better or settled elsewhere for future seasons when, once again, countless questions remain after the 2022 campaign.