On Monday, the Braves acquired Matt Olson from the Athletics in exchange for catching prospect Shea Langeliers, outfield prospect Cristian Pache and pitching prospects Ryan Cusick and Joey Estes. That trade for Olson escalated rather quickly and turned into an extension, not a free agent deal, per Ken Rosenthal of the Athletic.
Olson’s eight-year, $168 million dollar extension was announced by the Braves on Tuesday. The 2021 first-time All-Star and two-time Gold Glove winner will make $15 million for the 2022 season, $21 million in 2023, and $22 million per year through 2024 to 2029, with a $20 million option for 2030.
The 27-year-old will be a fantasy powerhouse for years to come, and will do so in a Braves uniform. The 2021 all-star posted a .271/.371/.540 triple slash line including 39 home runs and four stolen bases. He has also maintained an admirable .859 OPS, 132 wRC+, and 15.2 fWAR over his six-year tenure in Major League Baseball.
Olson is a formidable lefty bat that crushes left-handed pitching, especially. 22 of Olson’s 39 home runs were off southpaws, accompanied by a .911 OPS against lefties. The Braves did not want Olson, who is from the Atlanta area, to hit the market in two years; they’re now going to have him for quite a long time.
The Braves also bolstered their bullpen on Tuesday by signing free agent Collin McHugh to a two-year, $10 million contract with a $6 million club option for 2024. His contract also includes a $1 million buyout; in addition, he’s agreed to donate 1% of his salary to the Atlanta Braves Foundation.
McHugh had a stellar 2021, where in 37 games played, he posted a 1.55 ERA in 64 innings pitched, the fourth lowest amongst MLB pitchers with a similar number of innings pitched. The 34-year-old should fit in nicely in the Atlanta bullpen, and also carries experience as a starter, as he racked up seven starts for the Tampa Bay Rays last year.
The Freddie Freeman sweepstakes update
Now that the Braves acquired Matt Olson from the Athletics, a reunion with Atlanta is not necessarily in the cards for Freddie Freeman. Boston has now joined the Dodgers, Blue Jays, and also the Rays as possible landing spots for the highly coveted first baseman. The Yankees are likely no longer one of Freeman’s suitors, but we’ll get into why in a minute, if you haven’t figured it out already.
Kyle Schwarber is being considered as a viable Freeman alternative by a myriad of clubs, especially now with the universal DH as part of the new collective bargaining agreement. Though Freeman will probably seek more of a long-term commitment, the competition for Schwarber will be just as strenuous. The Blue Jays and Red Sox, as well as Schwarber’s former club, the Cubs, are all reported to have an interest in bringing the slugger on board.
Yankees re-sign Anthony Rizzo
Pending a physical, the first baseman resumes his post with the Yankees on a two-year deal worth a total of $32 million, according to Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic. The deal includes an opt-out after the first year. Rizzo has dipped slightly in offensive production since his strong 2019 season where he posted a ridiculous wRC+ of 140. However, he still maintains an admirable left-handed power bat, buoyant defense at first base, and a tough out for pitchers. He posted an acceptable wRC+ of 112 between the Cubs and Yankees in 2021. Rizzo’s return bows the Yankees out of the Freddie Freeman sweepstakes, and likely means that Luke Voit is on the trading block, perhaps to fulfill a DH role elsewhere.
Jack Flaherty undergoes shoulder evaluation
The bounceback-due Cardinals ace underwent a medical evaluation on his right shoulder on Tuesday; the results are not yet known, according to Katie Woo of the Athletic. It’s only been a few days into spring training workouts - The 26-year-old was sidelined for a good chunk of 2021 with oblique issues, so a barking shoulder right out of the gate is certainly concerning news. Last year’s opening day starter for the Cardinals, Flaherty was on track for a strong 2021 where he won his first eight decisions before suffering an oblique injury during an at-bat versus the Dodgers. In 78 1/3 innings pitched over 15 starts in his abbreviated 2021 season, Flaherty posted a 3.22 ERA and a 85/26 K/BB ratio.
American League Quick Hits:
Guardians placed RHP Carlos Vargas on the 60-day injured list with a right elbow injury. … Kevin Kiermaier is dealing with neck and upper back stiffness. … Jon Heyman of the MLB Networks reports that the White Sox have joined the Twins as a team with interest in trading for Sean Manaea and Frankie Montas. … Xander Bogaerts told reporters on Tuesday that he is now fully vaccinated, which will allow him to play in Toronto this season. … Lance McCullers told reporters on Tuesday that he has a flexor tendon injury and not a UCL issue. … Yankees signed INF Phillip Evans to a minor league contract. … Orioles signed INF/OF Chris Owings to a minor league contract. … Astros signed LHP Zac Rosscup to a minor league contract. … Jeff Fletcher of the SoCal News Group is reporting that veteran catcher Austin Romine has signed with the Angels. … James Kaprielian is dealing with AC joint irritation and is expected to be a couple of weeks behind this spring according to Athletics manager Mark Kotsay. … White Sox signed INF/OF Josh Harrison to a one-year $5.5 million contract with a club option for 2023. … Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic reports that the Astros intend to make a new offer to free agent shortstop Carlos Correa soon. … Astros signed INF/OF Niko Goodrum to a one-year, $2.1 million contract.
National League Quick Hits:
Diamondbacks signed C Grayson Greiner to a minor league contract with an invitation to spring training. … Pirates signed INF Daniel Vogelbach to a one-year, $1 million contract. … Pirates placed RHP Blake Cederlind on the 60-day injured list with an elbow injury. … Pirates placed RHP Nick Mears on the 60-day injured list with a right elbow injury. … According to Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald, free-agent Nick Castellanos had “great interest” in signing with the Marlins, who have yet to aggressively pursue him. … Mike Clevinger told reporters on Tuesday that he will be ready for Opening Day. … Phillies designated LHP Scott Moss for assignment. … Adbert Alzolay has been diagnosed with a right lat strain. … According to Jon Morosi of the MLB Network, Chris Martin and the Cubs have reached a one-year $2.5 million agreement. … Pedro Moura of the L.A. Times is reporting that Jimmy Nelson has re-signed with the Dodgers. … Alex Reyes told reporters that he underwent an MRI on Tuesday for right shoulder soreness. … Max Muncy (elbow) is playing first base during a simulated game on Tuesday. … According to Nick Groke of The Athletic, the Rockies will consider using top pitching prospect Ryan Rolison in long relief to start the season. … Robert Murray of FanSided reports that the Mets have signed left-hander Mike Montgomery to a minor league contract. … Devin Williams told reporters on Tuesday that he is working on adding a new slider to his arsenal this season. … Nationals manager Dave Martinez told reporters that he would love Cesar Hernandez to be the team’s leadoff hitter this season. … Jon Heyman of the MLB Network reports that the Dodgers have signed Jake Lamb to a minor league contract…Cubs signed INF Andrelton Simmons to a one-year, $4 million contract. … Zack Wheeler (shoulder) has been diagnosed with the flu and will not throw a scheduled bullpen session on Thursday. … Stephen Strasburg (neck, shoulder) acknowledged Tuesday that he is unlikely to be ready at the beginning of the 2022 regular season. … According to MLB.com’s Thomas Harding, a “new name surfacing” for the Rockies is Joc Pederson. … Mookie Betts (hip) said Tuesday in Dodgers camp that he is “ready to go” for the 2022 season. … Jake Reed had to cut short a throwing session on Tuesday due to midsection discomfort. … Yu Darvish (hip) looked sharp in two simulated innings on Tuesday at Padres camp.