Olson, a superstar with the division rival Oakland A’s, was traded to the Atlanta Braves Monday for a package of four prospects, all ranked within the latter’s top-15 prospects. Most notably, top Braves prospects Cristian Pache (OF) and Shea Langeliers (C) were included in the deal.
All in all, that proved to be a prospect package that was too steep for even the prospect-rich Texas Rangers to top.
Matt Olson is an elite player, but the Texas Rangers were right to pass on a trade
There’s no doubt Olson would’ve been an upgrade to the Rangers in every way. But an upgrade at what cost? Well, Atlanta sent their No. 1, No. 2, No. 6 and No. 14 ranked prospects (per MLB Pipeline) to Oakland in this trade. That’s the Texas equivalent of Jack Leiter, Josh Jung, Josh H. Smith and Yeison Morrobel. It was clear from the jump that the Rangers would not touch their top three prospects in a deal, and the A’s managing to pluck two from the Braves illustrates just how high Olson’s acquisition cost would’ve been.
It’s also important to consider that an in-division tax likely would’ve applied to the Texas Rangers in this scenario, especially for a player of Olson’s caliber. This means the Rangers would’ve had to send three top-five prospects, perhaps, or more. At the end of the day, that’s just not a price worth paying, even for someone as elite as the new Braves’ first baseman.
In striking out to get Matt Olson, the Texas Rangers not only made the right choice, but also kept their future intact, opting to play the long game with a deep farm system as they start to emerge from what is hopefully a quick rebuild.