Braves replace Nats killer Freeman with Olson at 1B

Freddie Freeman waves to fans at the Braves' World Series parade

The Nationals are free.

Freddie Freeman will almost certainly call a new city home this season after the Atlanta Braves traded four prospects to the Oakland A’s for first baseman Matt Olson. Freeman, who in his career has a .916 OPS and 26 home runs against Washington, has held out for top dollar on the free agent market and the Braves appear to have decided not to pay up.

Atlanta is coming off its first World Series title since 1995, a championship run that saw Freeman hit .304 with a 1.045 OPS and five home runs in 16 postseason games. The former NL MVP and five-time All-Star has been among the best first basemen in the sport since finishing second in NL Rookie of the Year voting in 2011.

Now, Freeman will likely suit up for another team in 2022, with his suitors reportedly including the New York Yankees, Los Angeles Dodgers, Toronto Blue Jays and Tampa Bay Rays.

In an effort to replace the face of their organization, the Braves acquired the 27-year-old Olson coming off a top-eight finish in AL MVP voting. Olson is MLB’s best defensive first basemen; his 27 Defensive Runs Saved since 2018 are easily the most at the position over that span.

However, his bat is just as potent. The Atlanta native hit 39 home runs with a .911 OPS last season. The only other first baseman to match those totals was Blue Jays phenom Vladimir Guerrero Jr.

While Nationals fans may rejoice at Freeman’s departure after he terrorized them for years, Olson has the potential to do the same. Yet that’s little solace for Braves fans, who watched their team send off a massive haul of prospects for two years of Olson rather than give Freeman the six-year deal he’s reportedly looking for.


Of course, it’s hard to feel too sorry for a fanbase still celebrating a World Series title. Even without Freeman, the Braves enter the 2022 season with the sixth-best odds on PointsBet sportsbook to run it back. Freeman may no longer be in the NL East, but the Braves look as dangerous as ever with Olson replacing him at first.