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Olson

(Photo by Todd Kirkland/Getty Images)

Reviewing the 2022 Oakland A’s Trades: Matt Olson

Olson
(Photo by Todd Kirkland/Getty Images)

Reviewing the 2022 Oakland A’s Trades: Matt Olson

We’re off and running in the offseason for MLB, but it’s never too late to look back on some trades. The 2022 season for the Oakland A’s was the first year of another rebuild, and many of their stars were shipped off the last offseason. One of the biggest was first baseman Matt Olson, who’s back in his hometown playing for the Atlanta Braves.

Let’s take a look at Olson’s first season away from the A’s, as well as the players the A’s received in the deal. In case you forgot, this was the full trade that happened back in March of 2022.

  • Braves: 1B Matt Olson
  • A’s: OF Cristian Pache, C Shea Langeliers, SP Ryan Cusick, SP Joey Estes

The Numbers

For Olson, he put up yet another strong power performance at the plate. He hit 34 home runs and 103 RBIs. It was the season of doubles for Olson, who hit 44 of them which ranked second-best in MLB behind former Brave Freddie Freeman. Despite a respectable season, Olson saw some dips in his offensive production. His K% was 16.8% in 2021 and jumped to 24.3% this year. Olson’s BB% decreased as well, going from 13.1% to 10.7%.

Another interesting aspect of Olson’s hitting was how hard he was hitting the ball. His average exit velocity improved, being in the top 3% of MLB with a 92.9. Yet, his xwOBA was down from last year, decreasing to .347. The batting average wasn’t pretty either, sitting at .240. But Olson hasn’t lost the power, and his gold glove defense is still present. He didn’t win one this year, but he still produced five Defensive Runs Saved (DRS) and three Outs Above Average (OAA.)

Cristian Pache

The 23-year-old quickly made a name for himself in Oakland with his personality and athleticism. His defense is the real deal, producing five DRS and seven OAA. His arm is just as strong, averaging 92.5 mph on balls thrown from the outfield. It’s the bat for Pache that he desperately needs in order to be that all-around player. He finished the year batting .166 with a .218 OBP and a 34 OPS+ in 91 games. He was sent to Triple-A in June and posted a 75 OPS+ upon returning in August. The A’s have to be patient with his bat, and luckily he has time with the rebuild just beginning.

Shea Langeliers

Langeliers was the headliner of this deal and is already seen as the future catcher of this team. Langeliers wasn’t called up until August but was making a case all the way back in April. He finished the month of April Triple-A batting .301 with 9 home runs and 20 RBI in 20 games played. When he reached the big leagues in August, Langeliers batted .218 with 6 home runs and 22 RBIs. While he spent a lot of time at DH, he flashed his defensive skills when given the shot. His average pop time was 1.93 seconds, 79% percentile and the 14 best in MLB. Sean Murphy will most likely to be traded this offseason, giving Langeliers the shot to quickly take over the A’s catching spot.

Ryan Cusick

Cusick was the Braves’ first-round draft pick back in 2021. In Double-A this past year, Cusick ended with a 1-6 record, a 7.12 ERA, and 30 walks in 43 innings. The 6-foot-6 righty battled an oblique injury that kept him out most of the year, not giving him or the A’s to see his true potential. He still pushed 43 strikeouts with a fastball that sits between 95-100 mph. 2023 will be his bounce-back season, and if he can find success in Double-A he won’t be in the minors very long.

Joey Estes

The 21-year-old spent his entire 2022 in Single-A, throwing for a 4.55 ERA in 20 starts, spanning 91 innings. His K/9 took a slight dip, going from 11.5 last year to 9.1 in 2022. Regardless the strikeouts are going to be a part of his game, reaching 90 plus in his first two pro seasons. A three-pitch mix including a fastball, slider, and changeup put him in an excellent spot to stay in a rotation.

So far, the trade hasn’t been lopsided. The A’s filled a lot of needs with this trade, getting pitching depth, a gold-glove caliber outfielder, and their future catcher. It allows the A’s to shop Murphy for a haul without having to find his replacement. As for first base, the A’s have top prospects Tyler Soderstrom and Lawrence Butler in the minors, who have the potential to be better than Olson ever was in Oakland.

It’s still too early to declare a winner in this trade. It depends on the Murphy package and whether the A’s can develop another first baseman on the same level as Olson. They’re moving in the right direction, and with the development of these young guys, the A’s rebuild might be over sooner than expected.

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