The Atlanta Braves have acquired star first baseman Matt Olson in a blockbuster trade signaling that the reigning World Series champs likely won’t re-sign franchise icon Freddie Freeman.
The Braves landed the highly coveted Olson from the Oakland Athletics for two of their top prospects — outfielder Cristian Pache and catcher Shea Langeliers — along with minor league pitchers Ryan Cusick and Joey Estes.
Braves general manager Alex Anthopoulos acknowledged the magnitude of the franchise-altering deal Monday, saying the during an emotional news conference that the trade was « the hardest transaction I’ve ever had to make. »
Olson, an Atlanta native and first-time All-Star last season, hit 39 home runs and drove in 111 runs with a slash line of .271/.371/.540 to lead Oakland in all major hitting categories.
The 27-year-old Olson, who is under contractual control for two more years, will have big shoes to fill in replacing Freeman, a free agent who has spent his entire 12-year career with the Braves.
Freeman, 32, batted .300 with 31 homers last season and helped lead the Braves to their first championship since 1995. The five-time All-Star and former National League MVP had been heavily linked to the Los Angeles Dodgers and New York Yankees as possible free-agent alternatives to Atlanta.
The trade also marks the latest move this offseason by the rebuilding Athletics, who also traded star pitcher Chris Bassitt to the New York Mets.