Yankees superstar slugger reveals he almost signed with Padres in 2022 free agency

MLB: Oakland Athletics at New York Yankees, aaron judge
Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY SportsCredit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

From his own admission, Aaron Judge would have been playing alongside his New York Yankees superstar teammate Juan Soto one way or another.

The Yankees almost lost their biggest star in 2022

May 3, 2024; Bronx, New York, USA; New York Yankees center fielder Aaron Judge (99) gestures to fans after the Yankees defeated the Detroit Tigers at Yankee Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports
May 3, 2024; Bronx, New York, USA; New York Yankees center fielder Aaron Judge (99) gestures to fans after the Yankees defeated the Detroit Tigers at Yankee Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY SportsCredit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

Per USA Today’s Bob Nightengale, Judge recently came out and revealed that the San Diego Padres’ organization impressed him to the point he considered signing with them during his highly-coveted free agency in 2022 (h/t Benjamin Adduccio of ClutchPoints):

“But man, I was very impressed by [Seidler]. If we weren’t coming from the Yankees and the situation we have here, you never know,” Judge said. “Just how he treated me and my family. Just a couple of hours meeting him, I was like, ‘This is what it’s all about. This is a true owner. This is a guy who cares about every single person from the cooks to the guy they’re trying to sign.’”

Yankees: Aaron Judge could’ve joined the San Diego Padres with Juan Soto in 2022

MLB: Spring Training-Toronto Blue Jays at New York Yankees
Feb 25, 2024; Tampa, Florida, USA; New York Yankees left fielder Juan Soto (22) and right fielder Aaron Judge (99) talks prior to the game against the Toronto Blue Jays at George M. Steinbrenner Field. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement Neitzel-USA TODAY SportsCredit: Kim Klement Neitzel-USA TODAY Sports

The Padres not only presented themselves as a first-class organization, but they also threw a wad of money at the former 2022 AL MVP in an attempt to lure him to San Diego. The Padres offered Judge an excess of $400 million, which far exceeded the nine-year, $360 million deal he signed with the Yankees that fall.

Judge would have entered the 2023 campaign next to a slugger in Soto who went for 35 home runs and 109 RBI’s in San Diego that year. The Dominican All-Star came out two months before Opening Day and stated that he never wanted to leave the Washington Nationals — the team that drafted him and traded him to the Padres in 2022 — so had Judge opted to move to the West Coast, he and Soto’s pairing may not have been a career-long one.

Judge and Soto’s pairing is fruitful in New York and could last a decade

May 22, 2024; Bronx, New York, USA;  New York Yankees right fielder Juan Soto (22) celebrates with center fielder Aaron Judge (99) after hitting a two-run home run in the third inning against the Seattle Mariners at Yankee Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY Sports
May 22, 2024; Bronx, New York, USA; New York Yankees right fielder Juan Soto (22) celebrates with center fielder Aaron Judge (99) after hitting a two-run home run in the third inning against the Seattle Mariners at Yankee Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY SportsCredit: Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY Sports

No matter, the two are taking the Major Leagues by storm in the Bronx. They are the best power-hitting duo in baseball, with 31 home runs between the both of them. Thanks in large part to their prowess at the plate, the Yankees own the second-best record in the MLB at 37-17 and are looking like serious World Series favorites.

Further, Soto’s sentiments about the Nationals could be history now that he’s thriving with the Yankees. He revealed that his door is open to Yankees owner Hal Steinbrenner in hopes of fielding a contract extension to keep him in New York ahead of his highly anticipated 2025 free agency.

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