NORTH PORT, Fla. — Matt Olson is returning home to replace Freddie Freeman as the Braves’ first baseman.
Atlanta acquired Olson from the A’s in exchange for two highly regarded prospects in catcher Shea Langeliers and outfielder Cristian Pache, 2021 first-round Draft pick Ryan Cusick (RHP) and Minor League right-hander Joey Estes.
With the acquisition of Olson, the Braves have seemingly put an end to Freeman’s legendary tenure in Atlanta. The 32-year-old first baseman has been courted by the Dodgers, Yankees, Blue Jays and Rays.
Instead of entering a multi-year deal that would have likely taken Freeman through at least his age-36 season, the Braves can now benefit from the younger Olson, who hit .271 with 39 homers and a .911 OPS for the A’s last year .
Olson is a 2012 graduate of suburban Atlanta’s Parkview High School, which is also Braves broadcaster Jeff Francoeur’s alma mater. The 27-year-old first baseman has hit at least 29 homers during each of the past three 162-game seasons.
Langeliers is considered one of the game’s top young catchers. The 24-year-old prospect possesses a rocket arm and he hit 22 homers at the Double-A level last year. In the soon-to-be-updated club prospect rankings from MLB Pipeline, Langeliers was poised to rank No. 1 on Atlanta’s top 30, with Pache at No. 3.
Pache was Atlanta’s starting center fielder at the beginning of 2021, and he is considered to be a potential future Gold Glove Award winner. The 23-year-old prospect has struggled offensively at the Major League level, but he could benefit from a little more Minor League seasoning.
Cusick was taken with the 24th overall selection in last summer’s Draft. The Wake Forest product posted a 2.76 ERA in six appearances for Class A Augusta last year. Estes posted a 2.91 ERA in 99 innings for Augusta.