aaron judge yankees
Troy Taormina | USA TODAY Sports

Aaron Judge has slugged his way into Yankees lore. But that does not mean he will stick around much longer.

National reporter Buster Olney reiterated Judge could “absolutely” bolt in free agency this winter during a Wednesday hit on ESPN.

“There is going to be an opportunity this winter for an owner to throw a huge number out there,” Olney said hours after Judge hit his 60th home run to match Babe Ruth’s career high. “And we don’t know if the Yankees will chase that. If another team like the Giants throws $350 million at him, will the Yankees wave the white flag?”

The Yankees offered Judge a roughly $230 million contract extension before the season started (there are different ways to do the math based on reported numbers, but that is a good rough milemarker). He turned it down, bet on himself and has proceeded to have one of the greatest seasons in the history of the sport.

It will almost assuredly cost $300-plus million to sign Judge now. The expectation is the Giants — who play two hours from Judge’s hometown of Linden, California — will be serious players for his services. The Dodgers, Mets and others also lurk. It’s not hard to envision a bidding war breaking out. If one does, is Yankees owner Hal Steinbrenner willing to spend whatever it takes?

And if he is, would it even matter?

“We don’t know what Aaron Judge really wants,” Olney said. “When he turned down the Yankees’ offer in the spring, he never countered. Maybe he wants to play with the San Francisco Giants? Maybe he wants to go for $350 million, the biggest contract ever.”

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James Kratch can be reached at james.kratch@xlmedia.com. Follow him on Twitter @JamesKratch.

James Kratch is the managing editor of ESNY. He previously worked as a Rutgers and Giants (and Mike Francesa) beat reporter for NJ Advance Media.