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Where could Aaron Judge end up if he doesn’t renew his contract with the Yankees?

If he decides to leave in free agency, there will be no shortage of teams that want his services, but the question remains which one - if any - is the right fit.

Aaron Judge MVP de la Liga Americana

The million-dollar question both literally and figuratively, is where will the Yankees star end up if he chooses to leave New York. Join us for a look at some of the potential options if things fall apart between him and the team.

What’s the situation between the Yankees and Aaron Judge?

When listening to the recent comments of Yankees GM, Brian Cashman, it’s interesting to note that there is no ill will towards Aaron Judge and moreover, there’s actually an empathy towards the homerun career in the wake of the franchise’s failure to tie their star to a new deal. As Cashman said before the playoffs, Judge made the “all-time best bet” on himself. Indeed, it’s been months since the two sides failed to agree on a new deal and since that time some things have changed. Most notably, the fact that Judge broke the single season homerun record. Needless to say, any deal that is agreed on whether with the Yankees or another team, will likely make Judge the highest-paid position player in MLB.

“There’s a pot of gold there,” Cashman said of Judge’s free agency. “It’s yet to be determined what the gold — how much it weighs. But it’s a pot of gold, no doubt about it. So, good for him. It was already a big pot, and obviously, it’ll be bigger.”

How did Aaron Judge and the Yankees get here?

With Aaron Judge’s free agency looming, the important thing to remember here is the chronology of events. It was just hours before opening day - if you recall - that Cashman publicly announced that the franchise had made an offer of $230.5 million across eight years. Judge didn’t accept and the season began. From there, the pin-stripes star basically exploded and by the time the curtain came down on the regular season, he had broken the 61-year-old single season record for homeruns with 62 of his own. Along the way he had a 207 wRC+ (107% better than the league’s average hitter) and was an 11.4 fWAR player — FanGraphs estimates his WAR was around $91.4 million. That’s to say, it could well be the case that Judge made an additional $100 million in free agency by taking that bet on himself.

Where his stance is concerned, Judge has maintained throughout that he would like to stay in New York. Of course, what he’s saying publicly vs what he says behind closed doors are two different things. At any rate, what is certain is that Judge is quite simply irreplaceable. Should he end up staying with the Yankees, it’s likely they will pull out the stops to cement the fact, including giving him the captaincy. If he goes, the Yankees will have a lot to work with such that they could acquire a shortstop - an obvious need - with any number of high-profile players as well as other positions as well. Shohei Ohtani anyone? With all of that said, here’s a look at possible landing spots for the Yankees star, should negotiations finally go south:

San Francisco Giants

When Farhan Zaidi was hired to take over baseball operations prior to the 2019 season, it was meant to mark a moment of change for the franchise. Big names were meant to be on the way, the farm system was set for a revamp and some of veterans on huge contracts were going to be offloaded. Without getting into the particulars of why that didn’t happen, what we will say is that while Zaidi would likely hesitate to spend big on a 30-year-old, the Giants are in desperate need of a star. Add to that, his origins in the nearby Central Valley and you’ve got yourself the making of a potential courtship. Of course, any deal will come down to whether Judge wants to leave and how much he wants in exchange for his services.

Los Angeles Dodgers

Truth be told, we’ve listed the Dodgers here because if there’s one team that has the resources to offer up a monster contract for Judge, it’s them. Granted, it would to some extent depend on whether or not Trea Turner leaves via free agency, but rest assured if there is any chance they could get Judge on their roster, they will most likely take it. Perhaps, the major complication - aside from whether or not Judge would be interested - is the fact that the Dodgers have traditionally only offered up short-term contracts to their stars, despite their obvious spending power. Would the Yankees slugger move to LA for a deal that wasn’t long term? We’re not sure about that one.

New York Mets

So, we know this one might sound bizarre, but hear us out. Firstly, the Mets aren’t short on change with Steve Cohen’s large bankroll on tap. Then there’s the fact that the Mets are one or two tweaks away from being a serious contender. Their offense which ranked 15th in home runs was actually working like a fine-tuned machine until inconsistency took hold toward the end of the season and unfortunately continued in the playoffs. That’s all to say that the addition of an absolute beast of a hitter like Judge, would be just what the doctor ordered. Of course, we do appreciate the idea of Judge switching one New York based team for another seems a little farfetched. On the other hand, if he decides he wants to leave the Yankees, it will likely be because he simply wants to be anywhere but there. Keep an eye on this one.

Boston Red Sox

To begin with the Red Sox had the fourth-worst fWAR (2.1) in the league last season and then there is their obvious need for an additional starting outfielder, having released Jackie Bradley Jr. Quite frankly, Boston is in need of a power hitter like Judge, however, there are other holes to fill besides the one they have in outfield. From a high-profile pitcher to one more starter, there are certainly issues to address on the roster aside from pursuing a player who will certainly cost an arm and a leg. Yet, it’s worth mentioning that the Red Sox are one of the few franchises that can pay that kind of price. Perhaps the main obstacle in this scenario will be the relatively conservative track record in handing out massive contracts over the last three years.


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