Since the beginning of the offseason, it has seemed like a fire sale is imminent for the Athletics. One of the most obvious candidates to be dealt as part of any cost-cutting moves has been Matt Olson. Indeed, he was the first name mentioned in MLBTR’s recent list of likely post-lockout trade candidates. Over the past few months, there has been reported interest from the Rangers, Yankees and Braves, but could the Guardians be a surprise entrant into the Olson sweepstakes?
Paul Hoynes of the Cleveland Plain Dealer looked into this possibility in a recent mailbag. In response to a reader who heard the club could be interested in the first baseman, Hoynes responded by saying, “It makes sense, but that doesn’t make it true.”
Olson’s bat would indeed make a lot of sense for the Guardians, given their meager offensive production in 2021. As a team, they hit .238/.303/.407 last year, producing a wRC+ 93, seven percentage points below league average. Olson, meanwhile, had the best season of his career thus far, hitting .271/.371/.540 for a wRC+ of 146. MLBTR projects him to earn $12MM in arbitration this year, a salary that even a low-budget team like the Guardians could afford. Their 2022 payroll is projected below $50MM at the moment, per Jason Martinez of Roster Resource, leaving plenty of room for a salary in that range.
Olson would be a clear upgrade over Bobby Bradley, Cleveland’s current first baseman. The 25-year-old hit 16 home runs last year but struck out in 35.5% of his plate appearances. In the end, he produced a line of .208/.294/.445, putting him just a hair below league average, wRC+ of 99. Bradley has less than one year of MLB service time, meaning he has six years of club control remaining. Given his youth and years of control, he could appeal to an Oakland team that is looking to cut salary. The Athletics have frequently targeted MLB-ready players when making these types of deals in the past, making a Bradley-Olson framework a logical start to a deal.
Hoynes suggests just such a framework as the backbone of a trade, but with the Guardians also throwing in a middle infielder and starting pitcher to balance it out. Cleveland has an abundance of middle infielders on the 40-man roster, making it easy to see them subtracting from that depth. At the moment, Jose Ramirez, Amed Rosario and Andres Gimenez are likely to fill out the infield along with Bradley. But the roster also features Yu Chang, Owen Miller, Ernie Clement, Richie Palacios, Brayan Rocchio, Tyler Freeman, Gabriel Arias and Jose Tena as players with some middle infield capabilities on the 40-man.
The same is true of the team’s starting depth, as the roster currently has Shane Bieber, Cal Quantrill, Zach Plesac, Aaron Civale, Triston McKenzie, Sam Hentges, Logan Allen, Eli Morgan, Cody Morris, Tobias Myers and Konnor Pilkington as potentials for the rotation. It’s feasible the club could view this as a surplus they could use as part of a trade, but given how injuries in the rotation largely torpedoed their chances in 2021, they might be inclined to hang onto all of these arms for now.
Despite the lack of offense and multiple pitcher injuries in 2021, Cleveland still managed to finish with a record of 80-82. With some better health in the rotation and the addition of an impact bat such as Olson’s, they could get back into contention this year, especially if the new CBA results in expanded playoffs.
FredMcGriff for the HOF
Once again… grow up and move on. All the whining doesn’t change reality.
Says the guy with a chief wahoo logo.
actually, all the whining did in fact change reality. Thus the name change. Just sayin
Seems off to speculate the Guardians are thinking about bringing in Olson while also speculating a trade of Jose Ramirez
Teams are asking on Jose Ramirez does not mean the Cleveland is shopping him. Ramirez will be a Guardian in 2022.
Cleveland Baseball Club.
The Baseball Fan (Doesn’t like the Cubs)
Matt Olson and Colin Peluse for Bo Naylor, Daniel Espino and Gavin Williams?
A’s say no they don’t need a catcher but interesting trade thought maybe if there was another cost controlled pitcher but as is A’s say no.
I could see them going after A’s- Kemp. I think Antonetti values the organizational farm, over a big name like Olson.
I know it’s not the flashiest of names, but Renato Nunez could be an interesting buy low-MiLB sign.
Ji-Man Choi would be tasteful and safe.
Alex Bohm or Frank Schwindel would be suspenseful, little erratic
Rizzo spontané and pleasant
Mike Ford would be Joe dirt-Spoof
Olson, Olson would be unprecedented
A’s I don’t think would even want Bradley. Who’s only 2 yrs younger than olson. And if the A’s really need a first base replacement on a non contending roster, they can just shift Seth brown there or give Eric Thames a shot who they signed to an milb deal. And most these articles assume the A’s want to add a young SS prospect, yet currently they have 4 shortstop prospects in their top 12. I would assume nick allen could be ready late 2022
None of their SS prospects are top prospects though. To use Keith Law’s list as an example, the A’s have just one prospect on his top 100, whereas the Guardians have 4, and 2 of them are shortstops (Rocchio, Tena). Either would be instantly the #2 prospect in Oakland’s system.
Uh, I doubt it. Especially if the story is true about the rangers being involved this year. Seeing how they’ve been going at it I wouldn’t bet against TX getting anyone at this point.
Nevertheless, NYY, TX, LAD, & Guardians? One of those teams is not like the other…
@ Clipper – Cleveland might have the best package of young talent to offer the A’s and that starts with young pitching prospects. The A’s aren’t necessarily looking for a future All-Star first baseman to replace Olson. They’ll be looking for a package of young, talented players including a 1B prospect who can step right in for Olson so Bradley fits the bill there for sure. Bradley wouldn’t be the centerpiece of said deal; one of the young Cleveland pitchers would be. Of the other remaining teams with interest, only the Yankees have the type of young pitching prospects that would interest Oakland, but they do not have the young, controllable first baseman to help replace Olson in the field. I’m sure the Yankees would try to include Voit in the deal but Voit doesn’t have the years of control or the low salary that Oakland would find appealing. The Dodgers might be able to put together a competitive package too, but don’t count out Cleveland because of their low payroll. Cleveland has a two year window to compete right now, after which tough decisions will need to made on J-Ram and Bieber so it would make plenty of sense for Cleveland to go all out and try to acquire Olson along with an Austin Meadows type of OF too. If they can improve their offense and keep Bieber healthy this season, the Guardians could actually be very competitive this year, especially with a surgically-repaired Tito Francona leading the way.
The Indians are a potentially sneaky competitive team.
The rotation is really pretty solid & Clase is an electric closer. You add a couple hitters and there’s a team that’s right there playing in a weak division.
Only $50MM on the books for payroll also. I’d prefer to keep my prospects and sign a few FA’s before going that route but they have some dark horse potential.
The problem is—I don’t see a WS roster here & when Cleveland had a WS caliber roster they chose to deal guys like Bauer & Clevinger to shorten their potential rebuild & see if they could do it w/o them. Unlikely they decide to push all the chips in w a weaker roster
Dumpster Divin Theo
Too wordy for something something so speculative. Dorothy mansplaining once again
Dorothy: I get what you’re saying, however with only $50 M on the books they’re not looking to trade their good prospects for two years of Olson. It’s against what they’ve been selling off Clevinger, etc to achieve, imho. The other teams are buying now to win now. That was my point.
Meisel has reported a few times this offseason (from comments from Antonetti) that payroll will likely be going up this season, and that this would be beyond just arbitration raises. Trading for Olson makes all the sense for Cleveland.
He’s not so expensive that they’re instantly around the $100m or so tier that probably represents their near term ceiling.
They have too many young prospects at the same position (SS) anyway. And too many prospects on the 40, as 14 players on the 40 have never played in the majors including 11 guys who were just added in November to avoid the Rule V draft. They need to clear 2-4 roster spots on the 40 anyway as they currently don’t have a backup catcher on the 40 (Lavastida won’t start the year with the team), they need 1-3 more relievers (they have only 6 RPs, maybe also converting Logan Allen to long man would make 7, 8 is the goal), and they probably should add a veteran corner OF (that would be assuming any of the rookies don’t make opening day roster, Naylor won’t be healthy in time, and they’re not comfortable rolling an infielder like Ernie Clement or Amed Rosario out there)
From the Guardians perspective, Olson is the ideal pickup. The question is what would the A’s want. They’re a front office that does things a bit differently, and predicting what they value is difficult.
I think this is the 27th team that’s been in the Matt Olson trade conversation. The lockout needs to end ASAP.
Agreed. It feels like this is taking longer than the Mets’ title drought…and that’s a very long time.
Funny how this is a Guardians post….
You guys got an in w Olsons agent or what
In nurse follars
There is no baseball news so all the stories are simply reactions to other stories or speculation based on nothing. This is a non-story until it is a story.
That’s why this is MLB Trade Rumors and not MLB Completed Transactions.
In nurse follars
It’s not even a rumor. It’s a fan question to an over the hill beat writer and an article made up to fill space.
Exactly. Bunch of nonsense. 0% chance Cleveland is paying for Olson
It’s currently MLB Time Killing Nonsense. But hey, people need a hobby.
I’ve been convinced this is a possibility since they added 11 guys to the 40 man roster. So I’ve toyed around with another site that does trade values, and found 4 trades that work:
Olson for Bobby Bradley, RHRP Karinchak, 3B/1B/OF Nolan Jones, SS Jose Tena
Olson for Bradley, Jones, Tena IF/OF Amed Rosario,
Olson for Bradley, Jones, RHSP Zack Plesac
Olson and OF Steve Piscotty (bad contract pickup) for Bradley, Tena, SS Gabriel Arias, RHP Hunter Gaddis, INF Ernie Clement
I think the most plausible one is the Bradley/Jones/Plesac one.
though I doubt that Cleveland would trade for Olson, they certainly should. He fits and improves their team. They need to clear spots anyway and have “all this potential talent”.
I like your posting of these trade options. Don’t know how value is determined.
these are from what I think. I did add Tena from your list (disclaimer)
Offer 1B Bradley (age 25) , ..RHP Morgan (age 26) or LHP Allen (age 26), ..
INF CHOICE of Miller, Chang, Freeman, Tena,….
INF/OF Palacios or 1B/3B/OF Jones
I hesitate on trading Rosario because it creates another hole in lineup. Plus Tribe still needs a LF, like Reynolds from Pittsburgh, who will cost them more prospects…
If they traded for Olsen and Reynolds I would be so happy, but when I woke up in the real world I’d probably be depressed after getting my hopes up while sleeping. That would be 2 very bold and great moves, Cleveland’s history in acquiring players via bold moves is nonexistent. But we can dream
Ubaldo Jimenez and Andrew Miller were both big-name guys that Cleveland traded for. They also tried to get Lucroy back in 2016. They don’t do it often but they will move prospects for proven talent. I don’t think the timing is right on Olson, personally.
@West Casey, I used baseballtradevalues.
They seem to overvalue Nolan Jones to me, putting him roughly the same value as Myles Straw or Francis Reyes, and I don’t think he’s really there after a rough 2021. On the other hand, they undervalue Tena a lot at 4.5, which is only slightly higher than the value they put on Bobby Bradley. Tena just made Law’s top 100, won the Platinum Glove last year, was a tremendous hitter as a SS despite being young for the level he was at (115 wRC+ AT 20 years old at High A), who followed that up by winning the batting title in the fall league.
Tena doesn’t get as much hype because he’s in a system with Rocchio and Freeman (and Angel Martinez behind him), but he could absolutely anchor a package.
In nurse follars
A lot to give up for a guy with only two years of control. That is not the way the Cleveland front office works. They’ll want assets with three years or more control for that kind of haul.
@Nurse – Keep in mind the current Cleveland window closes in two years anyways with J-Ram and Bieber coming to free agency and/or their last, expensive arbitration year by 2024. So now is the time for Cleveland to go for it, even with only two years of control for Olson. The Guardians will be blowing it all up in 2024 so why not give it one last shot?
In nurse follars
The window? Good lord!!!!! The business model has been for the last 15 years at least “to play meaningful games in September “ so people will still buy tickets. If they happen to have a chance for the playoffs they “spend when the time is right.” As long as they have a “winning” season that’s enough. They aren’t looking at a window.
The window isn’t closing on a team with a farm system bubbling over with talent. 2024 is harvest time for the best of them. Olson is out of their range both in terms of payroll and the cost in prospects.
Olsen and Trevino for Bradley, Freeman, Plesak and tanner burns, then they flip Karinchak to the mets for Jeff mcneil
In nurse follars
Wouldn’t Cleveland trade karinchak for McNeil directly if they could?
Well i meant in a seperate trade but yeah. I guess flip was the wrong word choice.
Freeman and Plesak? Dude, put the pipe down.
It’s funny to me that you think a freeman/plesac package is too much for Matt Olson.
Plesac is a #4 starter w/ diminishing control and Freeman is a potential starting 2B. Has upside but doesn’t have power so there is a ceiling there. Matty Olson is a top 5 1B. He’s going to get a package like that easily.
Who are you adding to Karinchak for McNeil?
Not a soul, well if they insisted some 17 year old lottery ticket still playing in the Dominican league. Karinchak isnt exactly a nobody and is controlled for two more years than Mcneil
If you’ve been watching you’d know that Karinchak was absolutely terrible once the sticky stuff was outlawed. I don’t think any team is going to pay up much of anything at this point. He’s a speculative dart. Cleveland is better off holding onto him unless they really believe he was a product of the sticky stuff
Most closers go thru similar years do some research. i wouldnt put him in the grave just yet and i highly doubt others are either. Mcneil was far far far from a stud himself last year not to mention the clubhouse drama.
I’m well aware of reliever volatility. This isn’t the same situation.
There’s legitimate concerns about Karinchak. There’s a catalyst that changes the view on him.
He went from 39 innings 68 k’s w/ elite peripherals to a guy who wasn’t even good enough to be in the worst of major league bullpens. Lost his spin rate and couldn’t strike anybody out after it was outlawed. The only way the Guardians deal him right now is if they believe he’s not capable of that kind of production without the sticky stuff. Because you get about 10cents on the dollar right now.
Ehh too many longballs and walks but if he couldnt even buy them a 30 year old 2B with character issues who hit all of .219 in those same two months that Karinchak struggled, they can try to sell Mcneil on somebody else.
I’d be more concerned that the guy who was one of the top guys in baseball at striking people out could barely buy a strikeout afterward.
That’s very problematic. If he was walking guys and giving up HR’s but generating close to same amount of whiffs—it’d be less of a concern for me. Carter Capps was an elite reliever too before his delivery was outlawed. If sticky stuff was the equivalent of that for Karinchak than there’s a huge problem. It just doesn’t make sense for Cleveland to sell that low unless they’ve already came to that determination.
Have they said he was using the sticky stuff or are we nust guessing? Could be a tiny tweak of mechanics like ya said or he had family troubles affecting his head who knows. Still struck out like 8.9 so it wasnt completely gone. I just assumed the mets might be interested since they have a guy in Diaz who went thru his own problems and their bullpen was actually worse than clevelands last year. I suppose they could send the mets an starter but i doubt the tribe would do that straight up for mcneil since they all have more control and ya know cleveland is cheap.. all just a crapshoot but its fun to look at all of the scenarios. Cleveland 100% has to find some bats and too many of the “fans” think Bradley is an answer. Maybe they take a shot at Rizzo if they dont want to sell pieces for Olsen but still leaves that terrible outfield
Context clues. He was pitcher X before sticky stuff was outlawed and he’s pitcher Y after. Pretty easy explanation. Numerous articles about it too. tYou’d be reaching to go elsewhere.
Some teams may think they can get him on track. Maybe Cleveland is one of them. I just can’t imagine Cleveland says goodbye unless they’re nearly certain he can’t be close to the guy he was without it. The return is going to be pathetic v the kind of pitcher he was.
Thats insinuating that every single pitcher who struggled at times last year was on the sticky stuff, little bit of a leap. We’ll see how they treat the balls this year
There’s actual data on his spin rate dropping after it was outlawed. Visual evidence too if you watch. He doesn’t get the same ride on his heater.
It’d be a leap to try to say he wasn’t. I don’t know how a guy who consistently puts up this kind of spin rate and then suddenly drops when something is outlawed could be explained by anything else. You’d have to actively not want to believe it. There’s just too much data to say otherwise.
Here is one. If you read that and tell me you don’t think James Karinchak was on the sticky stuff—well then I don’t know that we can have a conversation. Because data is data.
Players don’t just lose 300 RPM’s on a fastball mid season. That article clearly states that someone who lost 200 RPM’s would be a guy who was using some sort of foreign substance. Karinchak has another 100RPM drop on top of that. It’s plain as day that he was using.
& I don’t care. It wasn’t necessarily illegal to use and it made him electric. I would’ve done the same thing in his shoes. It didn’t harm him physically like steroids or anything of that sort. It’s just that he was a very bad pitcher without it & it’s not coming back. Every team in baseball knows this.
Whether or not he can effectively pitch without it is TBD. If Cleveland is willing to sell for pennies that would tell me he cannot. Because they are one of the premier organizations for pitching development .
Never saw that article, guess he best get to pumping the “legal” stuff
Karinchak alone for McNeil ain’t gonna cut it. But if Cleveland could come up with the right package of a backend starter, reliever and good prospect to fill the Mets needs, McNeil along with JD Davis would solve a lot of their 1B-OF hitting problems — and fit their budget. That’s the only kind of deal I see Cleveland making this year, not an Olson type.
McNeil & JD Davis do not have that much value.
You aren’t getting 2 ML ready pieces + a good prospect for them. If you get 2 ML ready contributors then you’ve gotten yourself a win if you’re the Mets because they’re spare parts that don’t fit. They have some value but it isn’t that.
Maybe a karicnchak and the older Logan Allen and a lotto ticket or Owen Miller for those two. Davis doesnt have much experience at first tho and mcneil isnt the greatest outfielder so two defensive liabilities in a single trade is kinda going backwards. rumor is the tribe will give Gimenez the 2nd base gig and i Cant see the mets trading both of those guys anyway if it meant counting on Cano at 2B. Vientos will probably come up at some point but he is a terrible 3rd basemen if they wanted to move Escobar to 2nd
Cleveland’s OF and 1B situations are terrible so shuffling JD to 1B and McNeil to LF would improve them considerably. They have MOR and BOR arms aplenty and they had to shift 11 bodies toward Rule 5 protection so they need to move prospects to make room for the season. Those two Mets can hit and they do it cheaply. If anyone has ever seen Bradley play 1B they wouldn’t worry too much over whether a converted 3B like JD can hack it. Makes sense to me.
I’m sure he can hack it better than Mcneil in the outfield. I met JD when he played double-a ball for Houston, pretty chill guy
jbigz, I’d sure like to see Mets leftovers in a Cleveland lineup that struggles to hit. McNeil, a 5 WAR player in 2019, despite an awful 2021, still has a .824 career ops (Lindor’s is .821). JD is nearly that — .800. He’s a great natural hitter who needs regular playing time which he never found in the NL and the Mets. Each has 3 years of control left and each cost under 3 million. That’s worth something.
I didn’t say it wasn’t. Just not a good prospect +2 major leaguers.
That’s too much for those 2.
Dark Horse would have been a better team name.
I prefer, The Unicorns of the City Cleveland. Affectionately known as the Cleveland Unis.
Yes, the Cleveland DHs!
Can’t see them parting with high end prospects for a vet.
In nurse follars
They have to move at least three players from the 40 to add Leon and two relief arms. Plus for any free agents they sign. At the very least 1 catcher, one outfielder and one reliever with Naylor starting at extended spring training.
Olson is a vet suddenly? He’s played what, 3-4 years?
I actually believe Gimenez will be included in any trades the Tribe makes.
In nurse follars
A McNeil trade makes all things possible. He can play the outfield or second. Few outfield free agent options out there. Any trade will be a wing and a prayer. Maybe melky cantata or Matt Lawton are available. Or Hanley Ramirez. More options at second. McNeil would be nice.
Matt Olson & Austin Meadows to Cleveland would really elevate Cleveland to potential favorites in the AL Central. The White Sox are still very good though.
In nurse follars
Meadows struggled mightily against left handed pitching the last two years and has declined from his Tampa debut season which is why he is a trade candidate. Still he is better than what Cleveland has to put out there now.
Lol Cleveland isn’t paying for Matt Olson, what a waste of time
What exactly is a dark horse candidate in an imaginary event?
They do have a surplus of young talent but it seems a little premature in the rebuild process to land a guy like Olson. They have so many young position players.. I think a few of these guys are going to need to establish themselves as big league producers before parting with big prospects.
No reason to make a play for Olson when they won’t be retaining him longterm. Cleveland can’t even extend Ramirez.
why is Oaklant trying to trade Olson anyways, he is a top 15 hitter in the game, dont they want to win?
Not if it’s going to cost their owner over 80 million in payroll
OAK doesn’t want to pay his salary.
If Oakland wanted to win they would have kept Bob Melvin as their manager.
Wrong Guardians target from Oakland.
Who are the guardians?
They are of the Galaxy.
Who is Groot?
I am Groot.
See: Men’s Professional Roller Derby.
207/294/445 is league average!!!???? I quit
Is the article speaking of the Men’s Professional Roller Derby team or the baseball team?
making a Bradley-Olson framework a logical start to a deal.
I don’t see them going after Olson, and I seriously doubt
And I seriously doubt Bradley would be much more than a throw-in. It’s fairly straight-forward. If Bradley is a real player, then the chances of Cleveland trading him with 6 years left, is about -0-. And if he isn’t a real player, then why would the A’s want him?
Well Teams see guys differently. Tweak things & some guys flourish elsewhere. But in the case—no way. He would be a throw in for sure. Bobby Bradley has serious raw power but he has huge holes in his swing and I seriously doubt that ever gets corrcected. He looks like a Chris Carter 2.0. & the league simply doesn’t value guys like Chris Carter anymore.
He’ll probably be an absolute stud in the KBO in a few years though.
If they ever play again…maybe
No, but Olsen would be a good fit for the Indians
Who wouldn’t Olson be a good fit for?
Always forget about Josh Naylor, he should def be moving back to first base at some point
Unfortunately Josh’s .700 OPS is more befitting of a backup 2B.
Stupid name for a Baseball team, could it be any more Woke ?
If he costs money Dolan is out. It’s more important for the Ivy Leagures in the front office to be fake PC as opposed to winning a World Series. Because….small market, you know.