The Aaron Judge free agency race is reportedly down to the New York Yankees and San Francisco Giants, with a few of the classic “mystery teams” on the periphery. Are the Los Angeles Dodgers one of them? If not, did Will Smith just convince them to get in on the sweepstakes?
At the Winter Meetings on Monday night, MLB Network did its rounds and had a wonderful evening of coverage. They spoke with a number of managers and players, including the Dodgers’ starting catcher.
One of the last questions was “What do you want to see happen before you get to Arizona?” as it pertained to the Dodgers’ acquisitions considering they have a number of voids to fill following Trea Turner’s departure as well as Cody Bellinger and Justin Turner being cut loose, among other things.
Smith’s response? “One guy that comes to mind is Judge. 62 homers last year, why not?” Yes, Andrew Friedman. Why not?!
Unfortunately, Trea Turner’s monster 11-year contract with the Philadelphia Phillies might’ve changed the dynamic of Judge’s free agency. The Yankees reportedly offered him eight years. We’ve yet to hear a Giants offer, but Ken Rosenthal reported before the Turner deal that it’ll probably take nine years to secure Judge. Now? We’re thinking 10. And the Dodgers probably won’t do that. Don’t think they were in for eight or nine, either.
Will Smith lobbies for Dodgers to sign Aaron Judge in free agency
At the very least, a Dodgers player was vocal about who they want the team to sign! It’s all fans have been asking for since it’s important they exercise their influence to provide some useful direction for the front office.
Sadly, unless there’s a massive secret offer the Dodgers are prepping for the reigning AL MVP, LA fans aren’t convinced this is likely. The team has been hesitant to give players long-term deals in recent years, with the exception of Mookie Betts. There may have been a lot of work done to clear space on the payroll this offseason, but that’s expected to play a role in resetting the luxury tax figure and better prepare the front office for the coming years.
Smith, by himself, probably won’t move mountains in regard to a potential Judge chase. But if he starts a group chat with Mookie Betts, Clayton Kershaw, Freddie Freeman and Max Muncy? Now we’re talkin’!
Outside of Judge’s market failing to materialize and the Dodgers swooping in to convince him that his best revenge is signing with arguably the most dominant/complete team in baseball, it really feels like the slugger defecting for LA is a longshot.