Assessing Yankees’ Aaron Judge free agency competitors

Aaron Judge has proven himself to be the highest-paid player in the game. And although the Yankees’ (at the time) seemingly reasonable spring offer of $213.5 million, a seven-year extension (30, $5 million per) from 2023 is well below that, and it remains unknown, tilting to doubt, the Yankees will just concede and concede on the $36 million annual salary, in truth both sides are better off loties if the judge remains pinstriped.

The Yankees need AL MVP favorite Judge, who is not only their best player (and possibly the best player in MLB), but also their undisputed leader and biggest draw. And he has almost as many reasons to stay.

The judge’s chambers plus the extra popularity and marketing opportunities are nice, but that’s not the half. Judge’s biggest motivation is winning, and the Yankees haven’t had a losing team since the very year he was born (1992).

The best reason to stay, however, might be Yankee Stadium itself. The power of Judge’s right field is unmatched, and while the stadium isn’t the Little League park suggested by a losing manager, it certainly offers an inviting target.

Meanwhile, the Yankees — reluctant to offer Mike Trout money due to previously understated stats and his 30s — are weighing the competition. A Yankees person recently pointed out that only five other teams could reasonably afford Judge — the Mets, Dodgers, Giants, Cubs and Red Sox. Although they shouldn’t be making assumptions – who saw the Rangers, Twins and Tigers spend big? – the Yankees are probably correct in viewing the Giants as the most logical threat. Here is an overview of five possible landing spots:

Aaron Judge #99 of the New York Yankees hits a solo home run
Aaron Judge has made his case and it’s time for the Yankees to pay before someone else does.
robert sabo

1. Place: They will be in much greater need with Jacob deGrom presumably stepping down, and as written here, they are believed to be reluctant to start an intra-urban war.

2. Dodgers: They have a payroll to rival the Mets and no immediate outfield need either.

3. Red Sox: Boston has seemed reluctant to step into the $30 million a year neighborhood.

4. Cubs: They are expected to spend, but may prioritize other points (shortstop, starting pitcher, etc.)

5. Giants: Judge’s hometown team has tried out for Giancarlo Stanton and Bryce Harper before.

Judge’s good friend Stanton turned down a chance to go to the Giants (unlike Judge, he grew up a Dodgers fan). The biggest downside for San Francisco in any pursuit is that beautiful ballpark, which may not be seen as such by hitters. Home runs are much harder to hit there. Overall since 2022, the Yankees are fourth in park factor for homers, the Giants 23rd.

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