The New York Yankees once flirted with the idea of sending Aaron Judge to the Atlanta Braves. The trade was discussed before Judge made his MLB debut, and it would’ve turned about to be disastrous for the Yankees.
The proposed trade would’ve sent Aaron Judge, Luis Severino, Gary Sanchez, Manny Bañuelos and Ian Clarkin to the Braves, according to ESPN’s Jeff Passan. The Yankees would’ve received Jason Heyward, Andrelton Simmons, B.J. Upton, Chris Johnson and David Carpenter in the trade.
It would’ve been one of the biggest MLB trades in recent memory.
Considering Simmons last played for the Braves in the 2015 season, the trade was likely discussed when Judge was just a highly touted prospect in the Yankees’ minor-league system. Judge played his first MLB game in 2016 and won the 2017 AL Rookie of the Year award.
Even without Judge, the deal would’ve arguably been a lopsided trade in favor of the Braves. Severino was the third-place finisher in the 2017 AL Cy Young race. The pitcher’s career has since been plagued by injuries, though he bounced back with a 3.18 ERA in 102 innings last season. Sanchez is a two-time All-Star and was once among the best-hitting catchers in baseball.
The trade discussion with the Braves didn’t become public at the time, though Yankees fans learned all too well in the offseason what it felt like to nearly lose Judge. It appeared that Judge was leaving New York in free agency for the San Francisco Giants. Ultimately, the Yankees brought Judge back on a nine-year, $360 million contract.
Things have worked out well for the Braves since failing to make the Judge trade. Atlanta has won five straight NL East titles. The Braves won the 2021 World Series.