The Angels had trade talks with the Yankees about Aaron Judge this winter, ESPN.com’s Buster Olney reports, though it sounds as if the discussions were little more than due diligence. “It was the lightest of flirtations,” as Olney put it, “and perhaps a door-opener for other names.” No details about the specific nature of the talks were mentioned, though it’s safe to assume the Angels explored some bigger outfield names like Judge before eventually landing Dexter Fowler in a salary-dump of a trade from the Cardinals.
Needless to say, a Judge trade would have been arguably the offseason’s biggest blockbuster, and it’s fun to speculate about what exactly Los Angeles would have had to give up to land the slugger. (Cue the inevitable “Judge for Trout and Ohtani sounds about fair” jokes in the comments section.) The Angels and Yankees were somewhat imperfect trade partners since both shared a need for starting pitching, which could be one of the reasons negotiations didn’t get very far. Since getting under the luxury tax threshold seemed to be the Yankees’ primary offseason goal, finances would likely have played some factor in a hypothetical trade, though obviously the Yankees wouldn’t have just given Judge away to clear his relatively modest $10.175MM salary. Olney also observed that discussion about Judge’s future in the Bronx will soon become more prominent, as Judge is only under team control through the 2022 season.