The Atlanta Braves do have a backup plan in place in case star first baseman Freddie Freeman leaves, but now even that is threatened.
While the Braves are technically barred from speaking with Freeman’s representatives until after the MLB lockout, the latest reports suggest their star first baseman is closer to leaving the ATL than ever before.
FanSided’s Braulio Perez referenced a recent report by Buster Olney as ‘trending in the direction’ of Freeman leaving:
"“According to Olney’s sources, the Braves offered Freeman a five-year deal worth $135 million. Freeman turned that down, as he was hoping to get a six-year contract. With the two at a stand still contract wise, Atlanta could look elsewhere for someone to man first base.”"
That surely is not promising.
So, what of the Braves’ obvious backup plan to trade for Matt Olson, who himself is a Georgia native?
That may not be in the cards, either.
Matt Olson trade rumors: Padres enter the chase
In a recent column, Dennis Lin of The Athletic says the Padres will be in on Olson as well once the MLB lockout ends.
"“The Padres would love to have Olson. That’s especially the case now that they employ a manager who oversaw Olson’s development into an All-Star. As is Preller’s wont, the Padres, before the lockout, checked in with every team regarding potentially attainable players…So, it would be a challenge, and there should be multiple likelier destinations for Olson. The Padres are one of the interested teams, at least.”"
In short, expect Preller to make another call to the Athletics, but the odds of San Diego being a potential landing spot for Olson remain small.
While the Padres don’t appear a significant threat at the moment, San Diego’s interest does show the amount of competition the Braves will have for Olson once the lockout ends. Despite where he’s from and the Braves’ potential need for a first baseman, suggesting the Braves are anything but an interested party might be a bit presumptuous.