If the Yankees lose Aaron Judge, here's how it could happen

If the Yankees lose Aaron Judge, here’s how it could happen

LAS VEGAS — What the now-completed GM meetings amplified is that the Yankees could lose Aaron Judge.

Not that they will be loose it. But they could. They remain the favorites to keep their star. But it hasn’t been hard to find executives and agents who think he’s going to land elsewhere. Which works well for him, even though Judge’s goal is to stay. An angry Hal Steinbrenner is a Hal Steinbrenner likely to raise his bid.

Let’s use 3Up to dive into two things that should help judge the market and end with something about what really matters:

1. A real competitor. I know there’s been talk that the Dodgers might Dodger, ie: enter the fray if they feel a star can’t find their desired market and offer something shorter in years but for a high annual salary. Think back to what they offered Bryce Harper before the Phillies landed the slugger, or Trevor Bauer, whom they landed (much to their chagrin later). The judge will not have a depressed market. There is probably no side door.

Dishes ? That’s not the vibe I get about where they want to take the payroll. The Red Sox? The Cubs? I think both are looking to spend trying to regain their relevance, but they’re more likely to be in the shortstop market.

Freddie Freeman #5 of the Los Angeles Dodgers celebrates as he scores in the sixth inning of a baseball game against the San Diego Padres on September 11, 2022 at Petco Park in San Diego, California.
As they showed by luring Freddie Freeman from Atlanta, the Dodgers are looming with the resources to take high-priced stars away from any team.
Getty Images

There could always be one or more mystery teams. But that’s about the Giants. The Judge team took root when it grew up not far from San Francisco. The Giants have only made the playoffs once in the past six years, and they’ve bled nearly a million fans during that time – their attendance was 3.4 million in 2016 when they completed a stint of making the playoffs four times in seven years (and winning three titles) and 2.5 million this year after going from a team-best 107 wins in 2021 to an 81-81 result.

The top of the Giants management team wants the stars, the wins and the fans to come back. The Giants first surpassed three million fans in 2000 with Barry Bonds as their marketing centerpiece. They didn’t fall below that level until 2008 – the first year of the bond’s retirement. So having the biggest power hitter in the sport has already worked for the Giants. There are now key members of the organization – such as principal owner Charles Johnson and team president Larry Baer – who were key members of the organization then. And a rival executive at GM meetings said, “There will be people in the organization who will say [president of baseball operations] Farhan [Zaidi] do whatever is necessary to get the judge.

Zaidi said: “There was no directive like that.”

But think of it this way: if the judge signs, the giants will know – to know — which will lead to the sale of many subscriptions. Does that happen if they sign, say, Carlos Correa or Trea Turner?

There is an industry feeling that Zaidi prefers to spread his dollars and not invest so much in one piece, especially one that will start a long affair next year at the age of 31. Zaidi noted that after the 2018 season, “We went really hard after Bryce Harper. But Harper was entering his 26-year-old season when the Giants showed their willingness to go over $300 million in a deal.

Barry Bonds #25 of the San Francisco Giants watches his 64th home run leave the court during the game against the Houston Astros September 20, 2001 at Pac Bell Park in San Francisco, California.  The Astros won 5-4.
The Giants know what kind of impact the addition of a famous hitter like Barry Bonds can have on attendance.
Getty Images

Plus, the Giants can basically add a player anywhere. So, is the right program for the Giants to spend big on a position rather than scattering their dollars to tackle a deep board that badly needs help?

“That’s a good point,” Zaidi said. “Everyone faces the same trade-off between exchanging some kind of financial resources for one or two places on the list and being able to achieve multiple places. But from a financial standpoint, there’s no one who would be out of our ability to be what we think the contract requirements will be, and then it’s just going to be a matter of whether it’s a mutual benefit. in how we put together the best possible team.”

2. A reason to leave. The problem that won’t die is that many Yankees players are miserable with the way they’ve been booed at home, especially in the playoffs, and especially the boos directed at Judge after one of the greatest seasons. regular all the time.

Is that really a reason for Judge to leave? Is this notion simply high to trade leverage?

Let’s step away from the judge for a moment and talk generally about free agency when a team wants to keep a player and it’s in the best interest of both the player and the agent to – at a minimum – create the perception that the player is not as deeply involved. love with the franchise as one might have believed before. The team, after all, must believe that the player will leave, otherwise the player loses considerable leverage. If the Yankees, for example, don’t believe Judge will accept an offer from the Giants or any other team, why keep increasing their offer?

A certain unease between the player and the organization comes naturally in this environment.

New York Yankees left fielder Aaron Judge #99 gets a high-five from the dugout after hitting his 61st homer of the season against the Toronto Blue Jays on September 28, 2022.
Without a regular contract with his teammates or club officials, Aaron Judge’s thoughts on his future could be a bit of a mystery for the Yankees.
Charles Wenzelberg/New York Post

The player is no longer surrounded by his teammates with a common daily objective. The player is no longer under the control of the team. There is no more daily contact. Silence creates problems. Why don’t we talk? Do they really want me as bad as they say? Do they talk to others? Do they speak badly of me in the industry?

Additionally, this coincides with when players can start talking to other organizations, and this dialogue is usually entirely positive. You hear how great you are from someone new. The red carpet is rolled out. Different contract offers are available to you with different structures. It’s flattery on steroids.

Into this atmosphere, add the possibility that the player has real grievances.

Is the judge really furious that Brian Cashman announced the seven-year, $213.5 million extension offer the slugger rejected in spring training?

Is the judge uncomfortable with the funless, joyless vibe that has blanketed the Yankees?

Is Judge upset that his 62 home runs were dismissed so quickly by Bronx fans because of his tough playoff run?

Some or all of this could be fabricated. None of that could really be a factor. But it’s certainly in Judge’s best interest for the Yankees to think it’s important. And everything is flowing now.

Are either of them, independently or together, enough to push Judge out of town? Are either of them, independently or together, enough to get Judge ready to go?

3. So here we are again at a place where I’ve been before and will still be when it comes to this negotiation: all that really matters is what the judge actually wants and what Hal Steinbrenner is willing to do .

New York Yankees owner Hal Steinbrenner speaking to the media outside the Yankees clubhouse during spring training in March 2022.
How much is Hal Steinbrennber willing to raise the Yankees’ offer for Aaron Judge from the $213.5 million deal that was rejected this spring?
Charles Wenzelberg/New York Post

Is Judge really ready to go or has he let his agent know to put on the show, but bring it back to the Bronx? If he wants to leave, the Giants, at a minimum, are out there with a sizable wallet. There are reasons for disenchantment in the only place Judge has ever played.

As for Steinbrenner, is he committed to bringing Judge back at pretty much any price, or does he have a limit in mind in terms of contract years or (more likely) dollars? Steinbrenner clearly didn’t like the rising boos at him (at Derek Jeter’s ceremony, in particular) and the criticism, including that he’s cheap.

Does it motivate him to avoid ridicule by doing whatever it takes to keep the judge? Or does he worry enough about signing the kind of long-term deal that will almost certainly go wrong during his tenure and does he believe the Yankees can diversify the money in other ways to stay a competitor?

The GM meetings gave both parties more information about this negotiation. Giants are no longer a theoretical threat. They can literally sign Judge today if they want.

The potential grudge period between a star and his longtime team has begun. How does it end?

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