While the Giants and Dodgers seem like the biggest threats to sign away superstar Aaron Judge, both carry potential complications in pursuits against the Yankees, who hold edges for Judge in legacy, ballpark and familiarity.
The Giants are clearly gung-ho in their efforts and said to be “elated” by their visit this week with Judge, but the idea they hold an advantage as his “hometown” team seems specious; he’s from Linden, Calif., two hours and a lifestyle away. (Judge actually lives now in Tampa, which is Yankees territory.)
The Giants have tried before for big power stars, but came up short for Bryce Harper and were rejected by Judge’s friend Giancarlo Stanton. They may have learned from the Harper try, when they came in late and low, but Oracle Park remains ranked in the bottom third for homers even if it wouldn’t hold most of Judge’s super long drives.
The Dodgers are looking at Judge and the top shortstops, and while they’ve pared $100 million off their payroll to date (Tyler Anderson, Andrew Heaney, David Price, Craig Kimbrel, Cody Bellinger, Joey Gallo, Trea Turner, Justin Turner), they seem interested in reducing their $290 million payroll and also could use a shortstop.
Some believe they wouldn’t mind filling that need in-house with Gavin Lux, but while they will look at Judge, even in their most flush times they specialize in value. Mookie Betts at about $290 million (the value of his $365 million deal with deferrals) and Freddie Freeman at $150 million (the value of his $162 million deal) are among the best recent management contracts. Judge certainly doesn’t look as if he’ll become a value play off an historic season, at least upon signing.