Matt Olson trade marks the beginning of a Braves dynasty
The Atlanta Braves have been all over the news over the past year. It all began in October of 2021 when they won their first World Series championship since the 1995 campaign. Then, they had the entire city of Atlanta rocking during the World Series parade. And following the recent MLB lockout, the Braves have been involved in various free agent and trade rumors. They most notably acquired Matt Olson via trade and extended him for eight seasons and $168 million dollars.
But the Olson move is more than just an impressive signing, rather, it is a franchise-changing transaction.
The majority of people expected Atlanta to re-sign 31-year old Freddie Freeman this offseason. But opting to lockup the 27-year old Olson for the long-term shows that the Braves are not just looking to win now, but this is an organization looking to remain competitive for many years to come. The Braves now have seven star players in their primes signed for at least three years or more.
It all begins with Olson, who is under team control for nine seasons including 2022. The first baseman may not offer the same consistency that Freeman did, but he brings a youthful energy combined with elite power from the left side of the plate.
Atlanta’s second longest contract belongs to 24-year Ronaldo Acuna Jr.
Acuna Jr. was unfortunately forced to miss the latter part of 2021 due to injury. However, when he is on the field he is arguably the best player in all of baseball. Acuna Jr. would have been in the MVP conversation had he stayed healthy a season ago, as the outfielder was slashing .283/.394/.596 with 24 home runs and 17 stolen bases over the course of just 82 games prior to the season-ending injury. He appears to be healthy for 2022 and should be in line for a monster season if he can stay healthy.
25-year old Ozzie Albies is arguably the best second baseman in the sport, and the Braves have him under control for six more seasons. Albies combines power and speed and posted 30 homers and 20 stolen bases in 2021.
Austin Riley is a 24-year old third baseman who broke out in 2021 to the tune of a .303 batting average and 33 home runs. He was vital to the Braves World Series run as well and he offers defensive versatility, as he can player either of the corner outfield spots if needed. Riley will be in Atlanta for four more seasons.
The Pitchers are Here to Stay
RHP Ian Anderson has five years remaining of team control while LHP Max Fried and RHP Mike Soroka both have three years left in at Atlanta.
Fried has established himself as the team’s ace. The 28-year old left-hander features an elite curveball that led him a 3.04 ERA to go along with 159 strikeouts in 2021. He is currently in the midst of his prime and should continue to excel leading this Braves pitching staff.
Young Ian Anderson is just 23 years of age and has already proven that he belongs in the show. He posted a 3.58 ERA a season ago and has not even reached his full potential yet. Atlanta’s front office is extremely excited for what the future may hold for the right-hander.
Finally, Mike Soroka has an immensely high ceiling but injuries have told the story of his big league career up to this point. However, in 2019 he finished with an impressive 2.68 ERA. If he can return and stay healthy Soroka could develop into a Cy Young caliber pitcher.
The Braves Short and Long Term Future is Bright
The Braves have enough talent to win the World Series in 2022, but they are also young enough that they can remain competitive for many years to come. The future is extremely bright in Atlanta.