Aaron Judge leaving Giants directionless is another massive win for Dodgers

Thomas Carannante
CLEVELAND, OHIO - OCTOBER 15: Oswaldo Cabrera #95 of the New York Yankees celebrates a two run home run with Aaron Judge #99 of the New York Yankees during the fifth inning against the Cleveland Guardians in game three of the American League Division Series at Progressive Field on October 15, 2022 in Cleveland, Ohio. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
CLEVELAND, OHIO - OCTOBER 15: Oswaldo Cabrera #95 of the New York Yankees celebrates a two run home run with Aaron Judge #99 of the New York Yankees during the fifth inning against the Cleveland Guardians in game three of the American League Division Series at Progressive Field on October 15, 2022 in Cleveland, Ohio. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images) /
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The San Francisco Giants’ best shot at reclaiming their spot as a contender in the National League — or even the NL West — was bringing in superstar Aaron Judge, who still would’ve only been a piece to a larger puzzle Farhan Zaidi needed to address.

But the Los Angeles Dodgers grabbed another massive victory during the Winter Meetings without lifting a finger. Judge re-signed with the New York Yankees despite (reportedly) higher offers from both the Giants and San Diego Padres.

For the Pads, they at least have a star-studded roster that’s ready to compete (and got over the hump in 2022). For the Giants? They got … Mitch Haniger. Nice consolation prize, guys!

Judge was supposed to be the building block. Haniger was supposed to be a second-tier complement. Retaining Carlos Rodon and/or acquiring Carlos Correa were supposed to be the star-studded supplementary moves.

Instead, the Giants are missing out on Trea Turner, Kolten Wong and Andrew Heaney while expressing interest in Christian Vázquez and Sean Manaea. Godspeed, SF.

The Giants are now directionless after Aaron Judge chose Yankees over them

And there’s nothing worse (for them) or better (for the Dodgers) than the tease Giants fans got late Tuesday night when Jon Heyman erroneously reported Judge appeared headed to San Francisco.

What’s the Giants’ recourse now? Rodon’s market is ballooning after the inflated deals for Jameson Taillon ($68 million) and Taijuan Walker ($72 million). Xander Bogaerts appears to be headed back to Boston (with the Diamondbacks and Marlins also involved). Dansby Swanson is being heavily pursued by the Cubs and Cardinals. This could all flip on a dime, but the Giants have barely been mentioned in any of these pursuits with the exception of Correa.

And Correa isn’t as momentous as a building block as Judge. If they added both, then that’s a different story. But it’d be Correa and … what? Rodón? Kodai Senga? Brandon Nimmo? Is that enough to propel the Giants much further above .500?

Maybe. It’d have to be a pretty darn good perfect storm of All-Star-caliber seasons, because the Giants don’t have too much firepower elsewhere. Are they really going to bank on above-average contributions from Brandon Crawford, Wilmer Flores, Mike Yastrzemski, LaMonte Wade Jr., Anthony DeSclafani, Alex Wood and Alex Cobb? They’d be lucky if half of those guys delivered.

Meanwhile, the Dodgers, who have sat back, cut loose a couple of team legends in Cody Bellinger and Justin Turner, lost Trea Turner, Tyler Anderson, Andrew Heaney, Chris Martin, Tommy Kahnle, Craig Kimbrel, David Price, Joey Gallo and others … and they might still be the best team in the division.

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