Saturday, January 29 2022
Matt Olson admires home run shot in grey A's uniform

Matt Olson admires home run shot in grey A’s uniform

CARLSBAD, Calif. — The GM meetings begin with the odd but significant question of whether there will be an offseason at all.

For teams and agents, there are only uncertainties: Will a lockout in early December freeze free agency? What will the new luxury tax threshold be? Will any players sign this month before teams know the new parameters?

Even the most well-connected baseball ops minds will only shrug and admit they do not know.

Somewhere in all that haze, though, is one near-certainty for the Yankees: Matt Olson, the All-Star first baseman for the Oakland Athletics, is there for the taking.

Given Oakland’s history of trading big names as they become more expensive in salary arbitration, Yankee fans have already been salivating over Olson’s hypothetical availability.

To that we can add reporting: Multiple league executives in touch with the A’s say that another reset is coming from the franchise, and Olson is one of several players who will likely be on the move.

The A’s decision to allow Bob Melvin to interview with other clubs served to confirm what the industry already expected about the direction. Melvin, one of the most respected managers in the game, had one year and $4 million remaining on his contract.

The A’s could have blocked his move to San Diego, but they allowed him to walk without any compensation — save for the ability to get his money off the books.

Olson, who turns 28 in March, has two arbitration years remaining before qualifying for free agency. He is due a raise from the $5 million he earned in 2021, a season in which he posted a .911 OPS and hit 39 home runs.

A left-handed batter, Olson could replace the free agent Anthony Rizzo, who remains a possibility to return. It’s also still possible the Yankees could proceed with Luke Voit, whom they tried to trade last July. But the team was clearly better last summer when its lineup was more balanced (Voit bats righty) and its infield more athletic (Rizzo’s defensive metrics are generally a bit stronger than Olson’s, but both are far better than Voit’s).

The way the Yankees see it, their ideal infield would have Gio Urshela (or someone else, if Urshela is traded) at third, a new acquisition at short, Gleyber Torres at second, an acquisition at first, and DJ LeMahieu returning to the role that he signed for as an infield everyman. An acquisition at first could mean signing Rizzo. But if they want it to be Olson, it’s clear they’re welcome to assemble a proposal.

We could spend another few hundred words throwing out hypotheticals ourselves, but in reality, it’s too early.

The Yankees’ front office has been almost totally immersed in interviews to fill out their coaching staff, a process that isn’t quite finished. While they are capable of multitasking, they’ll be turning a fuller attention to next season’s roster shortly.

Then they will see what Oakland wants, and determine if Olson will be their first base solution.

Source: Yahoo Sports

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