Braves sign first baseman Matt Olson to 8-year, $168M contract

ATLANTA — The Atlanta Braves made a massive trade, signaling the end of the Freddie Freeman era.

The Braves traded for Oakland A’s All-Star first baseman Matt Olson, the team confirmed Monday afternoon. ESPN first reported the trade.

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Atlanta will send top prospects outfielder Cristian Pache, catcher Shea Langeliers, and pitchers Ryan Cusick and Joey Estes to Oakland.

Channel 2′s Zach Klein broke the news of the trade to Snitker during a spring training practice media session.

On Tuesday, the Braves announced that Olson was signed to an 8-year contract worth $168 million that will run through the 2029 season.

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There will be a $20 million club option for 2030.

The Braves said Olson will make $15 million in 2022 and he has agreed to donate $1.68 million to the Atlanta Braves Foundation.

The trade for Olson means the Braves won’t re-sign Freddie Freeman although Snitker said he would not comment on Freeman’s future.

Freeman won the 2020 NL MVP and earned five All-Star nods over 12 seasons with Atlanta.

“Freddie is obviously an amazing player,” Olson told reporters. “It’s just not going to affect what I come here and do. I’m here to be Matt Olson. That’s all I can really control.”

It’s projected that Freeman will sign with the Dodgers or Yankees, although some outlets report the Rays and Blue Jays are interested.

Meanwhile, the trade marks a homecoming for Olson. The 27-year-old grew up in metro Atlanta and graduated from Parkview High School.

Olson earned his first All-Star nod last season and finished with a .271 batting average, 111 RBI and 39 home runs. He’s under team control through 2023.

“Obviously, I know Atlanta,” Olson said Monday. “It’s an amazing place, World Series champs, my hometown. If there was one place to go and leave here, that’s the place to do it. I’m excited about it.”

Braves general manager Alex Anthopoulos moved boldly to bolster the lineup when it became apparent Sunday night that Freeman was likely to sign elsewhere.

“A really exciting day for us,” Anthopoulos said. “We worked on it all day, all night. I haven’t gotten a whole lot of sleep.”

The GM said he was thrilled that Olson, a native of suburban Atlanta, will be a long-term part of a group of young stars that also includes Ronald Acuña Jr., Ozzie Albies, Austin Riley and Max Fried.

“For you wanting to commit, to be with us and be here, and be part of this core, is exceptionally exciting,” Anthopoulos said to Olson at the news conference. “Hopefully were going to continue to be a very competitive club.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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