1. Yankees-Braves Trade: Cristian Pache
Let this serve as yet another reminder to trade your prospects, even your most prized ones, if you suspect they might not be ready to be thrown into the fire and can help your big-league club in another capacity.
Don’t sacrifice long-term success for short-term stardom, either, but … it’s safe to say the 2021 Braves got very lucky hitting on seven different short-term outfield fixes en route to the World Series, something they probably wouldn’t have had to do so feverishly if Cristian Pache had been the superstar we were promised.
The now-23-year-old’s results have been subpar by any metric since his 2020 promotion. Pache garnered a single hit in four at-bats in 2020 while the pandemic removed the minor-league season, then got tossed onto the fire for a postseason Andruw Jones-style “learning experience” that resulted in one NLCS home run paired with a .182 average.
In his age-22 season, everything cratered; he posted a .744 OPS at Triple-A Gwinnett and a destructive .111 average with a single home run in 22 big-league games.
Though previously we would’ve been on board for a Torres-for-Pache swap of somewhat devalued assets, only someone tipped delusionally in the other direction would claim Torres, who hit .300 down the stretch at second base and has a 38-homer season to his name, has contributed an equal amount to Pache, who hasn’t performed since he burst onto the scene in 2019. The former consensus top prospect remains just … toolsy, which isn’t what you want to have marked on your ledger when you turn 23.
Pache hasn’t been “Deivi Garcia” bad, and a one-for-one swap is just what they want me to type here, but how about a deal centered around the two reclamation projects with some legitimate talent added on the Yankees’ side. Pache for Garcia, Luis Medina and Brandon Lockridge, a potential 40-man center field casualty who could slide onto the Braves’ bench?
Even that feels like an overpay, but it’s so difficult to properly assess the value of talent that’s midway through being wasted. Regardless of the cost, Pache would be an interesting buy for a team that lacks a long-term center fielder.