Aaron Judge Trade Rumors: Yankees, Angels 'Very Briefly' Talked Offseason Deal

Timothy Rapp@@TRappaRTFeatured ColumnistApril 25, 2021

New York Yankees' Aaron Judge swings for strike three in the third inning of a baseball game against the Cleveland Indians, Thursday, April 22, 2021, in Cleveland. (AP Photo/Tony Dejak)
Tony Dejak/Associated Press

The New York Yankees and Los Angeles Angels reportedly "very briefly talked" about the possibility of an Aaron Judge trade, but "nothing advanced" in those conversations, according to ESPN's Buster Olney

According to that report, those talks were the "lightest of flirtations, and perhaps a door-opener for other names. Teams talk all the time about a wide range of players, from their best to their least accomplished."

But as Olney noted, the Yankees have a big decision on the horizon when it comes to Judge, who will hit free agency following the 2023 season.  

As he wrote, "In 2017, [Judge] clubbed 52 homers, drew 127 walks and posted a 1.049 OPS. In the 258 games since then—played over the full seasons of 2018 and 2019, the 60-game season of '20, and the sprinkling of games this year—Judge has 67 homers and .914 OPS."

Judge has not trended in the right direction, in other words. 

The 28-year-old was an All-Star in that 2017 season, won the Rookie of the Year and was the AL MVP runner-up behind Jose Altuve. But he missed 50 games in 2018, 60 games in 2019 and 32 games last year.

There's little doubt that Judge is a threat to go yard when he's healthy. But just how much of a threat? But was that 2017 season something of an aberration? Is Judge a very good player who had one MVP-esque season and may never replicate it? And how much of an investment in Judge are the Yankees willing to make if they are concerned about his continued issues with injuries? How well will he age into his 30s?

Hence the team's complicated, looming decision. 

Granted, it's hard to imagine the rest of the American League would have been thrilled to see Judge settling into the Angeles lineup behind Mike Trout. And if Judge is ever put on the trade block, you can bet more than a few teams will come calling. 

But if he hits free agency, he's a candidate to get paid in a big way. Paying him an extension to keep him from free agency will equally cost big bucks. The Yankees will have to decide if they're willing to shell them out.