Did wild Max Fried trade rumor give Yankees perfect fallback plan?

ATLANTA, GA - OCTOBER 11: Max Fried #54 of the Atlanta Braves pitches against the Philadelphia Phillies during the third inning in game one of the National League Division Series at Truist Park on October 11, 2022 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Kevin D. Liles/Atlanta Braves/Getty Images)
ATLANTA, GA - OCTOBER 11: Max Fried #54 of the Atlanta Braves pitches against the Philadelphia Phillies during the third inning in game one of the National League Division Series at Truist Park on October 11, 2022 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Kevin D. Liles/Atlanta Braves/Getty Images) /
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Per some unruly fans on Twitter, the New York Yankees are “taking too long” to secure the services of Carlos Rodón, who has one of the more complicated free agency cases. According to reports, the left-hander is seeking a deal that will pay him $30 million per season. More specifically, there’s a desire for him to eclipse $200 million over seven years.

That’s a tall ask for a pitcher who’s made more than 30 starts in a season just once and has never thrown beyond 178 innings. Even Mets owner Steve Cohen would be treading lightly at such a request, given Rodón’s track record since debuting in 2015.

So, in the soul-crushing event that this falls apart and Rodón bolts for the Twins or Cardinals — two new teams that have entered the market for him — perhaps the Yankees shift their aggressiveness to the trade market.

The veracity of this report has yet to be truly determined, but MLB.com’s Jim Callis appeared on MLB Network’s Hot Stove show and suggested Atlanta Braves star Max Fried could be available in a trade.

In discussing the three-team deal between the Braves, Brewers and Athletics, Callis said Atlanta’s escalating payroll could force such a move. Trading the NL Cy Young runner up from 2022? The three-time Gold Glover? What?!

What would a Yankees-Braves trade package for Max Fried look like?

Guess if you don’t buy in on a teeny, tiny long-term extension in ATL, you’re toast these days. Just look at William Contreras.

Fried is entering his second year of arbitration eligibility and is likely due somewhere around $12-$13 million (a jump from his $6.85 million salary in 2022), per MLBTradeRumors. Is that really where the Braves will draw the line with their payroll? Offloading a Cy Young candidate who’s making one-third of what the top arms in the game do?

It’s extremely doubtful, especially since his third year of arbitration will still be a bargain at around ~$20 million! But for the sake of this exercise, we’ll take Callis’ word for it so the Yankees can have a premier backup plan if Rodón slips through the cracks.

If general manager Brian Cashman were to call up the Braves, what would this cost? Where would the talks begin? Josh Donaldson and Aaron Hicks? Just kidding. Shut up.

The problem is … the Braves are settled at just about every position the Yankees would be willing and able to offer from a value standpoint. Let’s assume Anthony Volpe is off the table. Oswald Peraza? That’d be a great option, but the Braves’ middle infield now consists of Vaughn Grissom and Ozzie Albies, and that’s without Dansby Swanson in the picture. What about a package centered around Jasson Dominguez? Michael Harris II patrols center field for Atlanta. Ronald Acuña is in right field and is signed for the long haul as well. What about Austin Wells? Oh … they just traded for catcher Sean Murphy.

Maybe they want pitching and a corner outfielder for when Eddie Rosario and Marcell Ozuna see their contracts expire? Would Everson Pereira/Spencer Jones/Will Warren/Clayton Beeter be of interest? Probably not, honestly. The Braves do lack outfield talent in their farm system, but are stacked with pitching. And since outfield is the easiest position to come by, the Braves will almost assuredly not be trading an ace pitcher for the most expendable assets possible.

Braves’ exec Alex Anthopoulos might be a wild card, but he isn’t a lunatic. Don’t count on this being any sort of Plan B for the Yankees.