Everyone in baseball is waiting on pins and needles to hear how the Aaron Judge free agency chronicles end. That’s especially the case for the Yankees and San Francisco Giants, who seem to be the two teams most serious about landing the slugger.
It’s felt like the 2022 American League MVP has had offers in excess of $300 million on the table for a while. So what’s taking so long? It might be because Judge is weighing his Yankees legacy vs. going home to the Bay with incredibly deep pockets.
Jon Heyman of the New York Post is reporting that San Francisco’s offer is approaching $400 million:
Giants are in with a big offer to Judge — believed to be $360M neighborhood — but the assumption/belief among rivals is that the Yankees remain favorites. Yankees are hopeful but say they still don’t know.
— Jon Heyman (@JonHeyman) December 6, 2022
That is… a lot of money, folks. We recently heard Judge’s contract could also include a ninth year. Things have reached uncomfortable heights for the teams involved, but both New York and San Francisco are already in it, so they’re just going for it now.
We know the Giants were Judge’s childhood team. It’s an organization he spent most of his younger years dreaming about playing for. A recent article from Time.com pointed to a prediction he made in 2010 — that he’d be married to his high school sweetheart and playing for the Giants in 10 years.
It’s a couple of years later than he originally imagined, but still pretty close. Judge married Samantha Bracksieck last winter and now has a chance to play for San Francisco. But if this big offer is on the table, why is Heyman still saying the Yankees are viewed as favorites?
MLB insider Jim Bowden shared his opinion on the latest turn of events:
In my opinion only…the leaking of the $360m offer from the #SFGiants to Aaron Judge was done so the #Yankees have a clear understanding of where they have to go to keep him..and if Turner was offered $342m…then a 10-year deal at $375 is probably range of what Judge signs for.
— Jim Bowden⚾️? (@JimBowdenGM) December 6, 2022
Bowden’s reference to Turner was the San Diego Padres’ offer to Trea Turner. It would’ve made him MLB’s highest-paid shortstop ever, but he opted for an 11-year, $300 million deal with the Philadelphia Phillies instead.
The Yankees were reportedly not given any assurance that Judge’s camp would allow New York a final chance to beat San Francisco’s offer. But is this their chance? Is it a sign the outfielder wants to stay in the Bronx? Could it just be a legit leak from someone not within Judge’s circle?
It’s anyone’s guess at this point. The Yankees want to retain their slugger badly, but we’re about to find out just how badly. And we’ll also find out how important it is for Judge to remain a Yankee. Or not.