As we’re all aware by now, Aaron Judge is in San Francisco to meet with the Giants and #YankeesTwitter is in a panic.
Breaking news into @MLBNetwork, via video from San Francisco: Aaron Judge has arrived in the city and is expected to meet with the #SFGiants this week. Join us on #MLBNHotStove at 9 am ET tomorrow for the latest. @MLB pic.twitter.com/pq0at6kgQ6
— Jon Morosi (@jonmorosi) November 22, 2022
We could go through every season finale of “The Bachelor” and the anticipation still wouldn’t match Judge’s free agency. Will he head home to California to play for the Giants? Or will he stay in the Bronx and become the next Yankees captain? Regardless of choice, Judge made his priorities clear shortly after being named American League MVP.
“For me, I want to win,” he said. “I’ve come pretty close with the Yankees. My ultimate, most important thing is I want to be on a team with a winning culture and a commitment to winning. First and foremost, it’s a winning culture and a winning future.”
If that is indeed the case, then why is Judge meeting with the Giants at all? Sure, they have the money to sign him, but the team still isn’t built to win now. Signing Judge only fills one need in right field with plenty remaining on the rest of the roster. San Francisco also has to add pitching and would be wise to acquire a first baseman.
It’s also worth noting that the Giants won 81 games in 2022 and Judge posted an fWAR of 11.4. Even if he signs and keeps posting MVP numbers, 92 or 93 wins still isn’t enough to catch the mighty Dodgers. Especially that we can now safely say the 2021 Giants and their 107 wins was a grand overachievement.
Which brings us to a hard honest truth all Yankees folk need to face. If Judge signs with the Giants, winning was never his priority. It will be because San Francisco simply managed to outbid the mighty Yankees–unlikely given ownership’s history of not spending in free agency–or because the Linden, California, native just wanted to go home.
It’d be an interesting development for sure, especially since we’re quick to compare the stoic Judge to Derek Jeter. The former Yankee captain’s commitment to winning was a borderline obsession. Thus, the only surprise about him re-signing with the Yankees after hitting free agency in 2010 was the soap opera preceding it.
So far, despite his attempts to seem like the Hall of Famer, Judge has been anything but Jeterian this offseason. The fact that we even know he’s in San Francisco is shocking, as Jeter was (and still is) notoriously private.
None of this is to say Judge has tipped his hand and will be a Giant by the end of the day. Free agency is a process and in this case, Judge is probably just granting the Giants a meeting they would have received anyway. It’s also Thanksgiving week and he was probably going home to California anyway, so it makes sense that both parties meet now.
But what we can now say is that whatever Judge’s strategy is, he wants to sign a new contract quickly. Baseball’s winter meetings aren’t for another couple of weeks and it sounds like he wants his deal done beforehand. Given how both New York and San Francisco have other needs to address, so would they.
And if winning is Judge’s first priority, even he has to see the Giants aren’t quite there yet.
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