When the New York Yankees and Aaron Judge failed to come to an agreement on a contract before Opening Day, it was a foregone conclusion the star slugger would explore free agency, which was something he expressed a desire to do if he didn’t get the contract he wanted from the Bombers.
Then, he had one of the best offensive seasons of all time, and it was beyond certain he would entertain any and every offer out there, regardless of the Yankees’ best efforts, once their year had concluded following an ALCS exit.
The Yankees and Judge have spoken multiple times, per Judge, Yankees owner Hal Steinbrenner and general manager Brian Cashman. There’s said to be an offer on the table, but the details have not been disclosed.
As predicted, unless it was the most insane offer possible, Judge was always going to meet with other teams and gather as much information as he could petaining to his market.
According to the latest buzz, Judge is reportedly meeting with the San Francisco Giants ahead of the Thanksgiving weekend. That leaves Dodgers fans wondering … is Los Angeles up next?
Aaron Judge is meeting with the Giants. Are the Dodgers next in line?
Unless there’s a burning desire on Judge’s behalf to play for his hometown team and the Giants offer more than the Yankees, it’s doubtful this will be his final meeting in free agency. After all, the Dodgers non-tendered Cody Bellinger last week and created more payroll flexibility while opening up another spot in the outfield.
Once that happened, multiple MLB insiders posited the Dodgers were better preparing themselves for a run at Judge. They had over $100 million come off the books since the end of the season, which now gives them bandwidth to add another top star, with just $110 million committed to 2023 at the moment.
In case you were wondering … that’s $21 million less than the Giants, who have $131 million in guaranteed money for next year.
There’s a belief Judge is seeking a contract of at least eight years and $340 million. Based on the Dodgers’ recent dealings, it doesn’t seem like they’d be willing to go that far … but now more than ever, they have the long-term flexibility, even with the need to set money aside for Julio Urías and Walker Buehler.
It’s also unclear if any team in Judge’s limited market is willing to go that far in negotiations because of the fact that he’s entering his age-31 season and has only played three full seasons of his six at the MLB level.
Regardless, by next week, fans could have some valuable information on Judge’s likely upcoming meeting with the Dodgers since he’s already on the west coast having kicked off his free agency tour.