Teoscar Hernández leaving AL East is win for Yankees no matter what’s next


This Toronto movie is extremely confusing. Is this the muddled middle, where the Blue Jays trade an All-Star and Yankees nemesis out of the AL East, only to uncover some hidden gem runt who eventually leads them to the promised land? Or is this closer to the end, where Toronto decides to prematurely shut their window to risk it all for some relievers?

Regardless of the next plot device, Yankee fans should be extremely thankful on Wednesday that the Blue Jays have willingly sacrificed power midway through a contention window, dealing Teoscar Hernández to the Seattle Mariners one season ahead of his free agency.

Hernández should also be thankful. Now, he gets to head to Seattle, where he can still contend without having to wear that musty Home Run Jacket.

The Jays followed up the Rays’ Ji-Man Choi trade and exiled a second Yankees rival from the AL East in a week’s time. They did so, ostensibly, to open up a spot in the outfield for someone — Brandon Nimmo? Dylan Carlson? — who’s more about contact/defense than power. In return, they acquired a reliever with a fantastic Savant page who Seattle seemed to shy away from in the 2022 ALDS (leading to Robbie Ray blowing Game 1), as well as the Mariners’ No. 8 prospect.

Sorry, but I’m not waiting for the other shoe to drop, for Nimmo to bat flip a walk, or for Hernández to come up in a big spot in a future Yankees-Mariners ALDS. I’m victory lapping right now, while I’m still able.

Yankees fans should be thrilled Blue Jays traded Teoscar Hernández to Seattle

There are very few versions of the Jays’ Hernández gambit where the lineup’s power increases with their All-Star out of the picture.

Toronto’s current depth chart is incomplete; even the most virulent hater couldn’t convince themselves this was a pure cost-cutting measure meant to create room for Whit Merrifield and Otto Lopez in the outfield. There will be a high-profile signing or trade that follows both the Hernández deal and Raimel Tapia being sliced off the roster.

Outside of an Aaron Judge signing, though, there’s no likely path to the Blue Jays bringing in someone with an equal propensity for three-run bombs. It’ll be someone like Nimmo, a change of pace for the lineup. Perhaps someone like Michael Conforto, a regressing left-handed bat who just spent a year away from the game rehabbing from major surgery. Maybe Toronto flips one of their excess catchers to St. Louis for one of their excess outfielders.

It’s unlikely, though, that the outfield’s new occupant strikes the same fear into the Yankees’ hearts that Hernández long did. Considering how much Vlad Jr. seems to care about beating the Yankees specifically, this had to have let a little bit of the air out of his personal balloon on Wednesday.

Hey! Maybe that’s the movie! Maybe it’s Pixar’s “Up”!