Considering the mind-blowing season superstar slugger Aaron Judge is currently having, it will be no surprise that several teams will offer a boatload of cash in free agency. The Yankees offered him a seven-year deal worth $31.5 million per season before the 2022 campaign began, but he turned it down and bet big on himself.
Aaron Judge’s big bet paid off:
Clearly, the choice to take a significant risk has panned out for Judge, who just finished up one of the best seasons in baseball history. He broke the single-season home run record with 62, recorded a .311 batting average, and 42.5% on-base rate. He also had the second-lowest strike-out rate in his career at 25.1% and a walk rate of 15.9%.
With that being said, there will be competitors on the open market for Judge, one of them likely to be the San Francisco Giants, which would send the slugger back to his hometown.
According to Buster Olney of ESPN, the San Francisco Giants are “waiting in the weeds for the offseason to begin.”
The Giants have an abundance of salary space available this winter, signing a few short-term contracts that expire after the 2022 season concludes.
The Yankees will have competition in the financial department:
Currently, they have $168.1 million taken up, but that number will drop to $103 million in active payroll after the season concludes. For comparison’s sake, the Yankees currently have $264.9 million allocated this season and $151 million already allocated for the 2023 season. That gives the Giants a significant cushion if they wish to splurge in free agency on one of the best players of this generation.
Jon Heyman of the New York Post reported that Judge grew up a Giants fan, which makes them a realistic competitor.
“The Giants are seen as another potential landing spot for Aaron Judge, who grew up a Giants fan,” Heyman writes. “Though they specialize in bargains, they did make a spirited attempt for Bryce Harper, finishing second to Philadelphia.”
However, they don’t normally spend big in the free agency market, rather settling for cheaper deals to plug holes. It ultimately depends on whether or not Judge prefers to go to a team that remains competitive every year or simply chase the bag.
If San Francisco wants to spend big on Aaron, they likely will settle for cheaper contracts across-the-board, which isn’t something the Yankees usually do. Given their stout developmental program and willingness to back up the Brinks truck, Judge sticking around in the Bronx may offer him the best chance of cashing in and competing for the foreseeable future.