Despite the expectation that the New York Yankees will sign star slugger Aaron Judge to a monster contract, it didn’t stop one former general manager from predicting a blockbuster deal between the Bombers and Washington Nationals next offseason.
As we saw last year, Aaron Judge is capable of playing multiple outfield spots, despite right field being his preferred position. He spent 158 innings last year in center field, posting a perfect fielding percentage.
That plays a big part in the theoretical trade proposed by Jim Bowden of The Athletic, who believes the Yankees will make a huge play for Juan Soto:
The Nationals increase their offer to superstar right fielder Juan Soto from $350 million to $390 million and he rejects it, preferring to get to free agency in three years. The Nationals then trade him to the Yankees on Dec. 29 for a package of seven prospects that includes their best prospect, Anthony Volpe.
Soto is one of the best players in all of baseball at just 23. Soto recorded a monster .313 average last season with 29 homers and 95 RBIs. Looking back at his 2019 campaign when he was 2o years old, he hit .282 with 34 homers and 110 RBIs.
Featuring Soto, Judge, and Giancarlo Stanton in the outfield would give the Yankees the best unit by a significant margin. The Nationals star is also a solid defender, which makes him extremely valuable. However, Bowden states the Yankees will have to give up their top prospect Anthony Volpe to acquire Soto.
Considering general manager Brian Cashman built his entire off-season strategy around Volpe becoming the team’s shortstop down the road, it will be incredibly difficult for him to part ways. Nonetheless, when you’re talking about a player like Soto, an established superstar, you have no choice but to submit to those demands.
The Yankees don’t necessarily need another big-time outfielder, looking at the deal objectively. Soto’s offensive qualities represent the majority of his value, but if Volpe dominated the minor-league system, they may take him off the market entirely, no matter the player. Some may view that as malpractice, and you’d have a good argument.