Atlanta Braves, New York Mets

MLB insider: Braves hold key to Mets’ Aaron Judge chase

The Atlanta Braves could be doing the New York Mets a favor in the long run should they complete their NL East comeback.

Leave it to Steve Cohen to overreact, but should the Mets fail to win the NL East after holding a double-digit game lead near the beginning of the season, the billionaire owner is sure to spend wisely.

New York Yankees slugger Aaron Judge has been connected to Queens for quite some time. With Judge expected to test the free agent market at the end of the season, could Cohen outspend the Yankees for a player of his caliber? He’d be a perfect fit alongside Pete Alonso in the lineup.

Another Atlanta NL East division title could spur Cohen to make such an expenditure.

MLB insider: Braves could force Mets hand with Aaron Judge

Under normal circumstances, it’d be tough for Cohen to outbid Hal Steinbrenner for his own player. But these are not normal times — or at least they won’t be if the Braves win the division.

Andy McCullough of The Athletic theorized a scenario in which the Mets would make it their end goal to bring Judge to Queens at any cost:

“Which is why the Atlanta Braves may hold the key to Judge’s $300 million dreams. Not because the Braves will fork over that sum. But if Atlanta overtakes the Mets in the National League East and relegates Cohen to the wild-card round, it is hard to envision the hedge-fund billionaire sitting quietly. And no individual player better suits his roster’s needs, specifically a power threat to pair with first baseman Pete Alonso, than Judge.”

That’s a lot of what if’s, but it does make some semblance of sense. These are not the Wilpon-run Mets. Cohen knows no bounds. The luxury tax is a joke to him, and he could make Judge his next must-have.

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