Aaron Judge Potential Landing Spots: Could Star Slugger be Bay Area Bound?
The 2022 MLB season is in the books as clubs shift their attention to the start of free agency, opening on November 10.
Of course, the cream of this year’s crop is New York Yankees star slugger Aaron Judge, following a year in which he slashed a remarkable .311/.425/.686 with an AL-record 62 home runs and 131 RBI.
While Judge leaving the Bronx remains a long shot, suppose the 30-year-old shocks the baseball world and decides to don a new uniform in 2023. Which clubs would be among the favorites to acquire Judge’s services?
Here are the top three potential landing spots (excluding the Yankees) courtesy of BetOnline.ag.
1) San Francisco Giants (+200)
Judge’s Bay Area ties are well known, so it’s no surprise to see San Francisco sitting at the top. The Linden, California, native grew up a massive Giants fan and played college baseball at Fresno State, just three hours from Oracle Park. San Francisco is flush with cap space and could use a jolt to its lineup after the club took an offensive step back last season. While the Giants have historically favored bargain contracts, they were finalists in the Bryce Harper sweepstakes. In addition, they most recently signed ace pitcher Carlos Rodon to a two-year, $44 million contract last offseason, a sign that management is beginning to alter its approach.
2) New York Mets (+250)
The most intriguing scenario would be if Judge were to bolt to the Yankees’ Subway Series rivals. Steve Cohen has shown a top-tier spending ability during his time as the Mets’ majority owner, so we know money won’t be an issue. However, the pitching staff is likely at the top of general manager Billy Eppler’s priorities, with Jacob deGrom, Taijuan Walker, and Chris Bassitt all free agents, and closer Edwin Diaz agreeing to a new five-year, $102 million contract extension.
3) Los Angeles Dodgers (+350)
Should we be surprised to see LA’s star-studded roster near the top of potential Judge suitors? From Freddie Freeman to Trea Turner to their pursuit of Gerrit Cole, the Dodgers have never been ones to shy away from going after a marquee name.
That said, Dave Roberts’s squad has other areas of need (primarily the bullpen) and has tended to prefer shorter-term deals rather than the mega extension Judge is likely seeking. LA’s own free agents also complicate matters, a group that includes Turner, as well as pitchers Clayton Kershaw and Tyler Anderson. Needless to say, several difficult decisions await general manager Brandon Gomes.
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