Yankee fans really might not like this one. As the resident Mets fan at CouchGuy, I have not written about the Yankees yet. However, as the Mets are in first place and the Yankees, well, aren’t, I thought it would be fun to tackle this challenge. Tom wrote a few weeks ago about some tough moves the Yankees may have to make. However, there was one name that was noticeably absent from his list; Aaron Judge. What would an Aaron Judge trade look like? Let’s break it down.
This Season for the Yankees
The Yankees are bad. They are currently 44-42 (they lost to the Mariners tonight) but they are much worse than their record shows. Aaron Boone has shown this season that he might not have what it takes to be a major league manager. They have played without any heart or passion all season and have been embarrassed on more than one occasion. They recently got swept by the Red Sox and Yankee Stadium sounded like Citi Field when Pete Alonso went yard there last week. But fear not Yankee fans! The Yankees have turned a lot of triple plays this season.
What pieces could they trade?
The Yankees have a lot of high profile names on their roster. Giancarlo Stanton, Gerrit Cole, Gleyber Torres, and Aroldis Chapman are just a few of the names on their roster. Anyone of these players they could try and trade to restock their barren farm system. However, they all have major red flags against them.
Giancarlo Stanton and Gerrit Cole
Let’s start with the two biggest red flags in Stanton and Cole. Stanton at one point signed the largest contract in MLB history, and at one point he was worth the money he was getting. However, his production has fallen off a cliff since he joined the Yankees. Everyone called Derek Jeter an idiot when he traded Stanton away from Miami, but he looks like a genius now. No one would be dumb enough to take on Stanton’s ridiculous contract at this point in his career. The man can barely stay healthy and he is only going to get more expensive as time goes on.
Cole on the other hand has pitched very well since joining the Yankees. He signed the largest contract for a pitcher as a free agent before last season. Cole was at one point in the conversation for best pitcher in the game along with Jacob DeGrom, but anyone who says Cole is better than DeGrom now is only kidding themselves. Since MLB’s crackdown on spidertac, Cole’s numbers have skyrocketed (while DeGrom was never using any in the first place). He is under contract for five more seasons and teams would need some incentive to take that contract on.
Gleyber Torres was once of the brightest young stars in the game. It was not wild to consider him to be in the same conversation as players like Juan Soto as the future of baseball. The Cubs traded Torres to the Yankees for half a season of Aroldis Chapman and a World Series. Torres came out of the gate hot with two 3-win seasons and it looked like it would only go up from there. However, he was a replacement level player last year and has accumulated a 0.3 WAR this season. He does not hold much trade value anymore. Once considered to be a foundational piece, Torres needs to find a home in the Yankees infield because it certainly is not at shortstop.
That brings us back to Aaron Judge. Judge is by far the best position player on the Yankees. He plays an excellent right field while providing obvious prowess with the bat. Judge is on pace for one his best seasons according to WAR. He is currently slashing .288/.381/.522 with 20 home runs and 46 RBIs. Realistically speaking, he is the only one the Yankees can expect to get a haul back in they decide to tear it down. The Yankees could expect to get multiple top 100 prospects and another team specific top 10 prospect. He single handedly could re-haul their entire prospect pool. Yankees fans might not like this idea but Judge is still years away from free agency (which holds a lot of value). An Aaron Judge trade would jumpstart a rebuild by bringing in some great prospects. The prospects they get in return when paired with Jasson Dominguez would be a nice start to rebuilding their system.
These are not the Yankees of old. They are not the ones to simply buy themselves out of trouble with free agents. They, like the rest of the league, are taking a more careful approach with free agents, with the exception of Gerrit Cole. Brian Cashman and Hal Steinbrenner seriously need to consider tearing it down to the studs and starting over. The team is directionless. They have aging players who cannot stay healthy, contracts that not even Steve Cohen can afford, and a very talented player in Judge who can bring back a haul. The Yankees may not like the idea, but they seriously need to consider an Aaron Judge trade and starting over.
-Pete Chatterton (@Pchat12)
Featured image from: https://yanksgoyard.com/2018/10/08/yankees-aaron-judge-bombers-need/
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