The New York Yankees managed to lock down their top player in Aaron Judge, this off-season, but there was a real possibility he took his talents elsewhere, notably the San Francisco Giants or the San Diego Padres, we are now learning.
The Giants were on the 1-yard line with Judge before the Yankees swooped in and cemented his place in the outfield for the foreseeable future. However, the Padres made one last push in the final hour to try and sway Judge to head back out west, where he grew up.
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The Yankees nearly lost Aaron Judge:
The Padres had a deal worth over $400 million on the table across 12 seasons for Judge, per The Athletic, which is certainly a contract fitting for an MVP. The 30-year-old is coming off a season where he hit .311 with a .425 OBP, 62 homers, 131 RBIs, and a 15.9% walk rate. He posted a career-high 207 wRC+ and 11.4 WAR.
Judge put together one of the best offensive seasons in the history of the game, and teams were lining up to pay him nearly half $1 billion. Of course, the Yankees ended up maintaining his services on a nine-year, $360 million deal, dishing out $40 million per season.
Judge has taken on a significant amount of responsibility via his leadership role and captaincy. The decision to turn down an eight-year, $230.5 million contract before the 2022 season began is certainly looking like a good move now, leveraging one of the best seasons ever.
The Padres showed aggression regarding the pursuit of Aaron, especially since he was open to visiting the team and negotiating in person. The Padres have a ridiculous squad already headlined by Juan Soto, so adding Judge would’ve only contributed toward a super team.
Nonetheless, the Yankees retaining Judge keeps them in the conversation for a World Series moving forward since they are a shell of themselves without him.