The Athletics already allowed longtime manager Bob Melvin to leave the organization without any return compensation, and a number of the A's core players could join their former skipper. Star first baseman Matt Olson is among "several A's players who will likely be on the move," SNY's Andy Martino reported Monday citing league sources.
"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."
Olson put together a career-best season in 2021, earning his first All-Star nod and participating in the Home Run Derby. The 28-year-old hit 39 home runs and had 111 RBI while hitting .271, and posting a strong 153 OPS-plus. Olson also led all AL first basemen in defensive runs saved but ultimately lost out on his third Gold Glove to Houston Astros infielder Yuli Gurriel.
A former first-round draft choice of the A's, Olson has two years of salary arbitration remaining and is not scheduled to be a free agent until after the 2023 season. Given the A's decision on Melvin, teams likely will be calling about all of the A's young stars, including Olson, Matt Chapman, Frankie Montas and possibly others.
Martino covers the New York Yankees and Mets, and the former likely would have strong interest in Olson if he indeed were available for the taking. Midseason acquisition Anthony Rizzo will be a free agent, and Luke Voit nearly was traded last season and could be a trade candidate himself.
The Athletic's Ken Rosenthal also reported similar interest around the league in trading with the A's on Monday, as the MLB Owners Meetings run from Tuesday through Thursday in Carlsbad. While Rosenthal seconded the likelihood of the A's eyeing trade options, he reports that the potential looming new Collective Bargaining Agreement could throw a wrench into those plans.
"However, the possibility of the new CBA including a soft payroll floor is at least giving club officials pause on how quickly to proceed. The owners’ initial proposal included such a floor, tying it to a reduction in the luxury-tax threshold that made it a non-starter for the players’ union. Still, a team such as the A’s would look foolish if they traded Matt Olson, Matt Chapman, Frankie Montas and Co., only to learn later that a new CBA included a floor of say, $100 million."
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A salary floor would force the A's to spend, making a fire sale nonsensical. Olson, Chapman and Montas likely would be retained in that case, but the CBA negotiations are sure to be complicated. Clarity on the final details of that might not be known for some time.
The A's fell short of a playoff berth and finished a disappointing third in the AL West in 2021.
Melvin already has moved on to San Diego. Could Olson or other A's players join him as Oakland tries to maximize the value of their young stars with team control?
This could be a big week for the organization.