New York Yankees owner Hal Steinbrenner and general manager Brian Cashman are confident they will retain slugger Aaron Judge in free agency, but there is a very real possibility he goes out west of the San Francisco Giants, who were reportedly “elated” with his visit last week.
Judge is a hot commodity on the market, but he played so well during the 2022 season that he priced himself out for some teams. The Giants, Los Angeles Dodgers and Yankees remain involved. Judge’s representatives hope to create a bidding war between the teams, which might be why he traveled out west to provide a mirage in the eyes of the Yankees brass.
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However, it is entirely possible that the 30-year-old slugger is legitimately interested in the Giants, notably because they are keen on spending in free agency beyond acquiring the superstar outfielder.
In fact, San Francisco is already looking into other top free agents, like Japanese star pitcher Kodai Senga before they even ink Judge to a monster deal. The Yankees have been connected to a myriad of different players as well, but it all seems to be fluff before they retain their own.
“One team that’s heavily involved in the Senga market, I’m told, is the San Francisco Giants,” MLB Network insider Jon Morosi said Tuesday on Hot Stove. “Not a surprise. We knew the Giants were going to be heavily involved in free agency overall. As we know, they’re certainly involved in No. 99, Aaron Judge.
The Yankees need to be aggressive with Aaron Judge and their free agency plans:
Judge stated several weeks ago that he prefers to go to a team that will continue adding pieces this off-season to build a contender.
The Bombers have already signed Anthony Rizzo to a new deal, but they haven’t jumped into the free agency pool aggressively. It seems they prefer to wait on Judge and his contract extension to determine how much financial flexibility they have for the future. They could try to offload Josh Donaldson and Aaron Hicks, but that is easier said than done. Waiting until Donaldson‘s salary is off the books next year seems to be the more probable move.
Nonetheless, if the Giants can match any deal the Yankees offer and guarantee their continued spending this off-season, they may be able to convince Judge to return out west, where he grew up about two hours away from San Francisco.