The Yankees have no choice but to be aggressive coming out of the lockout, especially if teams are forced to forego Spring Training and expedite to the regular season. If that’s the case, free agency will be swift as teams pick up the leftover players from the billion-dollar spending spree teams have already enjoyed in late 2021.
Over the past few months, the Bombers have been connected to the Oakland Athletics in a myriad of prospective deals, including shortstop Elvis Andrus and star first baseman Matt Olson. Even third baseman Matt Chapman has been floated in potential talks, but in this scenario, the Yankees gain a tremendous infielder who would provide consistent offensive firepower in the lineup and a solid glove at first base.
The Athletic’s Jim Bowden constructed a deal for A’s star 1B Matt Olson, offering up multiple prospects:
Considering the Yankees already have multiple high-profile shortstops in their system, trading away Oswald Peraza is easy to justify.
Anthony Volpe has been developing at an astronomical rate, and the Yankees recently signed top international prospect Roderick Arias to a big deal.
If there’s any time to utilize Peraza as a trade piece, it is now when they are seeking contention and need a few more quality players to push them over the edge.
Olson is coming off a tremendous year with Oakland, hitting .271 with 39 homers and 111 RBIs. His 16.8% strikeout rate was the lowest of his career after posting a 31.4% rate in 2020 during the Covid abbreviated season.
Olson also recorded his highest wRC+ since 2017 at 146. His .540 slugging percentage was the highest since 2019, and he added 35 doubles on top of 79 singles. There is no question he would be a massive upgrade at first base, and after playing in 156 games this past year, the Yankees could rely on him as a healthy starter, which is a luxury.
In addition to parting ways with Peraza, the Yankees would also have to give up Luis Gil in this scenario, one of their top young pitchers. Gil is a fastball-reliant pitcher, which the Yankees love. MLB Pipeline gave his fastball a 75 out of 80 grade, the best in the Yankees’ farm system. In his two outings with the Bombers this past season, Gil averaged a 96 mph fastball and 2,450 rpm spin right.
There is reason to believe that Gil could end up becoming an elite bullpen arm, so parting ways with him would be tough to swallow. However, if they’re getting a value like Olson in the process, it could be worth it.