Aaron Judge has continuously made it known he wants to remain a New York Yankee, but he’s also made it clear he’s going to deliberate his options in free agency after the two sides couldn’t come to an agreement before Opening Day.
Huge mistake by Brian Cashman and the front office, because he’s now giving a number of big market teams with a ton of financial flexibility a reason to hop in on the bidding. The Los Angeles Dodgers have long been rumored to be one of them.
But where does the likely AL MVP fit? Dumb question, actually. He fits anywhere. If the opportunity arises to sign Aaron Judge, you simply make it work. That’s what great teams do.
On the surface, with Cody Bellinger’s future in doubt, there’s a vacancy in center field, where Judge roamed for 78 games and played stellar defense. That versatility actually screwed him out of Gold Glove consideration. Go figure.
The Dodgers might be thinking deeper than that, though. With Trea Turner also possibly on the way out, there could be a vacancy at shortstop that Gavin Lux may need to fill. That now leaves second base open, and perhaps invites a scenario many haven’t considered until now.
Dodgers Rumors: Aaron Judge to force Mookie Betts into position switch?
"“Mookie Betts has won five Gold Glove awards as a right fielder. Could his next one be as a second baseman?“According to sources, the Dodgers could become serious players in this offseason’s Aaron Judge sweepstakes, a move that would potentially result in a position change for Betts, a six-time All-Star outfielder.”"
Betts is reportedly open to the position switch, but how long might this last? Betts is already 30 years old and has dealt with back, hip and rib issues over the last two seasons. Will he be able to handle second base duties on a full-time basis? Is this too big of a stretch for LA to consider?
Additionally, Betts has played a grand total of 30 career games at second base. While he’s been fairly impressive at the position for somebody who rarely plays it, how can the Dodgers justify moving arguably the best defensive right fielder in the game to a position he’s unfamiliar with? How can they justify putting their most expensive player until contract through 2032 at a more physically-demanding position instead of working to have him age well at his strongest/most familiar one that’s less strenuous on the body?
Maybe if we’re talking a massive short-term deal for Judge that would see him and Betts share center and right while Betts sprinkles in some second base, it could make sense. Otherwise, a long-term deal for Judge may hamstring the Dodgers defensively in a few years and put Betts at risk of not delivering to the fullest of his abilities as his 12-year contract enters its third season in 2023.