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Elephant Rumblings: Reactions to the Matt Olson trade

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Seattle Mariners v Oakland Athletics Photo by Lachlan Cunningham/Getty Images

It’s Tuesday, Athletics Nation!

Another day, another major player traded away from the Oakland A’s. After the dust had settled from the weekend’s trade of Chris Bassitt to the Mets, yesterday they traded fan-favourite first baseman Matt Olson to the World Series champion Atlanta Braves.

This move is the second in what had seemed like an inevitable chain of dominoes to fall. It’s a huge blow to the core of the A’s as we have known them for the last five years, as Olson moves to his hometown of Atlanta. Matt is coming off a career-best All-Star year in 2021 so there was no better time to get a return on him, and the A’s got quite a haul back for the lefty slugger.

Atlanta sent four prospects to the A’s: OF Cristian Pache, C Shea Langeliers, RHP Ryan Cusick, and RHP Joey Estes, and you can click here to read their full scouting reports. It’s a well regarded return, with potential to have a major impact on the next few years of A’s baseball. The experts weighed in:

  • David Schoenfield of ESPN says the Braves paid “a steep price.”
  • Dan Szymborski of FanGraphs says that “if the A’s were determined to trade Olson, I don’t think they were likely to get a better return than this at any point.”
  • Keith Law of The Athletic says “That’s a great return for two years of a very good position player who the A’s obviously don’t need if they’re not trying to contend this year.”

While Athletics fans are left wondering who will replace their star at first base, many Braves fans are combatting the excitement of Olson with the sadness that his arrival guarantees fan-favourite Freddie Freeman won’t be returning to Atlanta.

It’s one of the biggest trades so far in the abbreviated hot stove season, and it likely won’t be the last one the A’s make before Opening Day. John Shea of the S.F. Chronicle laments the cruel reality of the repetitive rebuilding process, but also points out Oakland’s long track record of using it to build winners, and now that they’ve started selling again he hopes to see them finish the job:

“There’s no reason to stop now. There’s no reason to go halfway. There’s no reason to keep the other key young players around. The latest run is over.”

Some final words of encouragement come from Melissa Lockard of The Athletic. She posted a series of tweets sharing the frustration of another teardown, but with an important reminder:

“These aren’t salary dump deals where they are getting nothing just to shed contracts from popular players. These trades are designed to make that climb up the hill faster than waiting around for draft picks. History says it should be pretty successful.”

Keep the fAith, Athletics Nation!

Reactions to the Olson trade

Olson’s own comments on being traded

GM David Forst on the Matt Olson trade

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Dallas Braden’s reaction to the news (NSFW)

We’ll miss you Oly! See you again when the Braves swing through The Town in September!

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