1. Aaron Judge to the Atlanta Braves
Yankees fans are understandably frustrated. They’re a .500-ish team featuring two extended stretches of well-below-.500 baseball when they should’ve been a World Series contender.
Well … what should Braves fans be doing right now? After a season in which they held a 3-1 series lead in the NLCS, they’ve never been over .500 at any point of 2021, a fate only shared by two other teams.
In an effort to get over that hump, they’ll need to fill a tremendous hole they never expected to battle in the outfield, with Marcell Ozuna departing from the picture entirely due to some ghastly off-the-field behavior that likely should end his MLB career (but won’t … because we know how this story ends). Ronald Acuña Jr. mans Judge’s spot in right field, but there’s no comparison between Big No. 99 and the men he could be replacing in left (Abraham Almonte, Guillermo Heredia, and Ender Inciarte). Acuña to center shouldn’t be an issue.
In order to add the last year and a half of Judge’s pre-free agency, the Braves will need to pay up, though. The Yankees will certainly be looking to plunder from Atlanta’s wealth of pitching prospects, with righty Ian Anderson the current crown jewel, considering his postseason performance and rebound in 2021; he’s now sitting at 4-3 with a 3.26 ERA. If not Anderson, perhaps the Yanks will play the long game and bet on a resurgence from Mike Soroka, who appeared to be the Braves’ budding ace before his Achilles betrayed him. Add top prospect Drew Waters to a Soroka package, and perhaps that’s the deal?
Ultimately, this is the most insane of the three insane packages we’ve created here. The likelihood of any of them coming to fruition is about the same as this current Yankees roster rebounding to win a World Series, untouched.
For both, we wait.