Yankees: Trade Aaron Judge to Make Room for Mookie Betts in 2021?

Mookie Betts #50 of the Boston Red Sox high fives Aaron Judge #99 of the New York Yankees (Photo by Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)
Mookie Betts #50 of the Boston Red Sox high fives Aaron Judge #99 of the New York Yankees (Photo by Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images) /

A blockbuster Yankees trade of Aaron Judge could allow New York to sign Mookie Betts.

Hot takes are engulfing the sports world! Well, we have NOTHING better to do since nothing is going on, considering the owners and players don’t want to come to an agreement to quell our concerns, so blame them.

But seriously, if the New York Yankees don’t take home a World Series in 2020, especially in a shortened season where you have to imagine they’ll have just about everyone healthy with the exception of Luis Severino, changes will have to be made.

And what if Aaron Judge struggles or continues to deal with injury issues? The fact of the matter is that New York is stuck with the contracts of Giancarlo Stanton and Aaron Hicks, so it won’t be easy to get rid of those guys if they want to make other additions without adding excessively to the payroll. So what if they trade Judge to make room for someone like, say, Mookie Betts?

The idea of trading Judge is nothing new, and it’s safe to say Yankee fans don’t like hearing about it.

New York Yankees star Aaron Judge’s injury issues complicate his future.

Yankee fans love Judge and it’s easy to see why. The guy mashes, plays extraordinary defense, and is a delight with the media. However, he’s been largely underwhelming in key moments of the playoffs, while injuries the past three seasons have hampered him significantly. He played in just 112 games in 2018, 102 games last year, and still isn’t cleared to swing a bat in 2020. At this rate, if the season were to start on July 4, we’d bet he won’t be ready.

The slugger won’t be a free agent until after the 2023 season, but don’t forget his salaries are going to increase each of the next three years. He’s slated to make $8.5 million this year, so it’s not crazy to think he can approach the $25 million mark by his third year of arbitration eligibility. If he produces and stays healthy, there’s no reason for the Yankees to not keep him.

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But what if he doesn’t perform and general manager Brian Cashman can figure out a way to move him for more pitching help and some prospects? Getting his salary off the books, on top of having Masahiro Tanaka ($23 million), JA Happ ($17 million) James Paxton ($12.5 million), and Brett Gardner ($10 million) expected to hit free agency, there could be a lot of money to work with.

Obviously the Yankees will need to replenish their pitching staff and extend DJ LeMahieu, and none of those things will come cheap, but Luis Severino will be back next year, and one can hope one of Michael King, Deivi Garcia, Clarke Schmidt or Albert Abreu pan out to alleviate the need to invest heavily another big arm. Perhaps they let Tanaka and Paxton go, sign a guy like Trevor Bauer to a short-term deal (he has a desire to sign one-year contracts!) and trade Judge to induce a mini re-tool. That could allow them to break the bank for Betts.

If that’s even at all what they want to do. Nonetheless, it’s something to consider if the Bronx Bombers don’t capture championship No. 28 and the front office feels a significant wave of changes need to be made.