Yankees free agency and trade buzz: Freddie Freeman's landing spot could affect Matt Olson

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Freddie Freeman gives speech at World Series parade
Freddie Freeman gives speech at World Series parade

Here is the latest buzz surrounding Yankees trade and free agent targets ...

Dec. 2, 12:19 p.m.

While Freddie Freeman's return to the Atlanta Braves is still viewed by many as likely, it is in greater doubt than it was when the offseason began.

And as Freeman has remained a free agent, the Braves have explored other first base options such as Matt Olson and Anthony Rizzo, reports Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic.

Per Rosenthal, Olson would likely be the Braves' No. 1 target to replace Freeman.

The Yankees have been in the bidding for Freeman, are a potential trade partner with the Oakland Athletics for Olson, and could possibly re-sign Rizzo.

As far as where Freeman could end up if he leaves Atlanta, Rosenthal suggests that Freeman -- a native of California -- could be a more "natural" fit with the Los Angeles Dodgers or Angels.

Dec. 1, 9:23 a.m.

Before MLB owners locked out the players early Thursday morning, the Yankees were among the teams in the "bidding" for free agent 1B Freddie Freeman, reports Jon Heyman of MLB Network.

Per Heyman, most people still find it hard to believe that Freeman will leave the Atlanta Braves, with Atlanta perhaps being pushed by Freeman's camp to increase their offer from five years to six in order to get a deal done.

The Yankees, who tendered a contract to Luke Voit before the non-tender deadline, have a need at first base.

It's possible New York could re-sign free agent Anthony Rizzo, but any signing (for Rizzo or anyone else) will have to wait until the lockout ends.

The same goes for any potential trade, with Oakland Athletics 1B Matt Olson among the possibilities.

Nov. 30, 9:32 a.m.

With Corey Seager signing a megadeal with the Texas Rangers, SNY’s Andy Martino is hearing the Yankees have been in contact with the Rangers regarding shortstop Isiah Kiner-Falefa.

However, Martino added that as of Nov. 29, the trade market seemed to be pretty dead as the baseball world prepares for a lockout.

The 26-year-old Kiner-Falefa has a great defensive track record thus far in just four MLB seasons.

This past year, FanGraphs had him as a plus-10 defensive runs saved player at short, which backed his Gold Glove Award from 2020. In the hitting department, he slashed .271/.312/.357 with 25 doubles, eight homers and 53 RBI over 158 games.

Per Martino, New York has also been interested in Andrelton Simmons.

Nov. 29, 9:22 a.m.

The Los Angeles Dodgers and Texas Rangers are on free agent shortstop Corey Seager "much more so" than the Yankees, reports SNY's Andy Martino.

Per Martino, the Yankees could have a "stealth" pursuit of Seager going on, but there is no smoke right now revolving around Seager and the Yanks.

Meanwhile, per Jon Heyman of MLB Network, the Yanks are among the teams that have checked in on free agent shortstop Andrelton Simmons.

Nov. 28, 5:18 p.m.

Free agent infielder Marcus Semien has agreed a deal with the Texas Rangers, according to FanSided.com's Robert Murray.

MLB Network's Jon Heyman reported that the Yankees showed interest in Semien, but stopped short of the seven-year contract. Semien's deal with Texas is believed to be worth about $175 million.

Nov. 21, 10:36 p.m.

The Yankees have been connected to Matt Olson this offseason, as the 27-year-old first baseman could be traded by the Oakland A’s. According to MLB Network’s Jon Heyman, those early trade talks have Oakland “shooting for the moon.”

Rightfully so for a player of Olson’s caliber. He was a 5.8 WAR player after belting 39 homers with 111 RBI and a .911 OPS. He’s got team control for the next two years as well, so the price tag is going to be high.

Of course, these are early discussion and price tags are always going to be the highest for the seller and lowest offers come from the buyers until there’s some common ground. The A’s aren’t going to part ways with Olson that easy.

Nov. 20, 2:47 p.m.

While Justin Verlander seemed like a perfect fit for the Yankees' rotation, he ultimately decided to return to Houston.

But the Yankees did make an effort to bring him to the Bronx.

According to MLB Network's Jon Heyman, the Yankees offered the two-time Cy Young winner a one-year, $25 million deal. Verlander instead returned to Houston on a two-year, $50 million deal, which included a player option of $25 million for that second year.

Nov. 18, 10:40 p.m.

Yankees GM Brian Cashman confirmed on Thursday night that he has spoken to the representatives for free agent shortstops Carlos Correa, Corey Seager, and Trevor Story.

"We are definitely casting a wide net and having conversations," Cashman said. "That means free gents, that means trades, that means looking at what we have internally. So, we’re going to have to come up with a better version than what we ended with. That’s the job.

"We’re trying to assess really what are realistic options are, and so time will tell how that plays out, but I have talked to all of them, yes."

Nov. 17, 5:37 p.m.

Justin Verlander is staying in Houston, his brother Ben - an MLB analyst on FOX - tweeted Wednesday evening.

The Yankees had shown interest in the two-time Cy Young Award winner who had originally declined Houston's qualifying offer. Yankee scouts had attended a workout of his recently.

Verlander has not pitched since the 2020 season, where he appeared in just one game before undergoing Tommy John surgery and missing the entire 2021 season in recovery.

Verlander's deal is for one year worth $25 million, and he has player option for the 2023 season, according to Mark Berman of FOX 26 in Houston.

Jon Heyman notes that Verlander wanted to remain loyal to Astros owner Jim Crane and the organization.

Nov. 17, 5:00 p.m.

Yankees owner Hal Steinbrenner was at the owners' meetings in Chicago on Wednesday, and took time to touch on a variety of topics. According to ESPN's Jeff Passan, one of them was Carlos Correa and the chance the Yankees could sign him.

The obvious stigma around Correa comes from his part in the Astros cheating scandal from 2017, but here's what Steinbrenner had to say on the situation:

“He’s obviously a great talent,” he said. “And, look, I think, hopefully, most people have moved on from that. I mean, I think it’s only healthy to move on from things like that instead of stewing on it year after year. But, you know, people have the opinion that they want to have about that particular player. But, in general, we’re going to look at every single option. It’s the same thing we do every year.”

So this coincides with what GM Brian Cashman and manager Aaron Boone have said on Correa, too, which is that they believe he could be a viable option for their clubhouse.

Nov. 17, 1:56 p.m.

Justin Verlander has been a name connected with the Yankees since they sent a scout to watch his workout in Florida a few weeks back. MLB Network’s Jon Heyman reports the interest is still there, but even better, Verlander is “expected to have a decision fairly soon.”

Verlander was one of many that declined the qualifying offer from their respective teams – the Houston Astros in his case. And Heyman believes that “fairly soon” decision could be coming “perhaps even this week.”

Many other teams are in on Verlander, including the Toronto Blue Jays, and Heyman is hearing multi-year and one-year options are on the table. So he'll have his fair share of choices on where he pitches next.

Nov. 16, 8:11 p.m.

Adding a shortstop is high on the Yankees’ offseason priority list, and they’re reportedly battling with another big-market team to land one of the top available options.

According to MLB Network’s Jon Heyman, the Yankees and Dodgers are both playing for Corey Seager.

ESPN’s Jeff Passan has previously reported that both Seager and Marcus Semien – two of the top shortstops available – could sign quicker than expected due to a possible work stoppage in December.

Nov. 16, 5:15 p.m.

According to YES Network's Jack Curry, the Yankees have made inquiries about A's first baseman Matt Olson, but the two sides have not had any 'detailed conversations about which players would be involved in a potential deal."

Curry notes that the Yankees are "definitely interested" in Olson, who hit 39 homers with 111 RBI last year with the A's.

Nov. 15, 1:33 p.m.

The Yankees are in the market for a first baseman, which MLB Network's Jon Heyman reports has led to them meeting with "all top left-handed-hitting" ones. That includes 2021 World Series champion Freddie Freeman.

Freeman has only known the Braves in his career, and has made it clear that he wants to return to Atlanta.

However, anything is possible in free agency, so it makes sense that the Yanks checked in with one of the best two-way first basemen in MLB.

Nov. 15, 12:45 p.m.

The Yanks have interest in CF Starling Marte, per MLB Network's Jon Heyman.

Cashman said recently that he is considering options in center field with no guarantees that Aaron Hicks will be set to go in 2022. Marte is the top center fielder on the market, and multiple teams -- Houston Astros, Miami Marlins, Mets, and Philadelphia Phillies among them -- will be vying for his services.

Marte, 33, had a fantastic 2021 campaign with the Marlins and Oakland A's, slashing .310/.383/.458 with 12 homers, 27 doubles and 55 RBI, usually in the leadoff hole. He gets on base a bunch and has defensive prowess that hasn't been hindered by age.

Nov. 12, 11:04 a.m.

Many around the league are worried a work stoppage is coming, which is why some free agents might be willing to sign quicker than expected. Add top free agent shortstops Marcus Semien and Corey Seager to that list, says ESPN's Jeff Passan.

Both of these players will be considered big splashes and it could come before Dec. 1 when the CBA expires.

SNY's Andy Martino noted earlier that a lockout is likely, as there is a lot of "pessimism" in current labor negotiations. Martino added that when the lockout is over, the Yankees "are going to be big spenders and aggressive buyers on this free agent market this winter."

We'll see if that remains the case with these two players specifically.

Nov. 11, 2:29 p.m.

Cashman said that Carlos Correa's past with the Houston Astros won't be an impediment to him signing in New York.

Cashman has spoken with "most, but not all" of the representatives for the top free agent shortstops, including Correa.

Correa was one of the Astros who was singled out during the league's investigation into their cheating scandal that happened in 2017.