The New York Yankees have been viewed as the favorites to sign Aaron Judge in free agency, but the AL MVP is no guarantee to return to the Big Apple. The San Francisco Giants appear to have a real chance of signing MLB’s top available star.
According to USA Today’s Bob Nightengale, the Giants’ confidence is growing over their chances to sign Judge. San Francisco has been aggressive in its pursuit of the 30-year-old, who is expected to sign a contract worth more than $300 million for eight or nine years.
MLB.com reported that Judge is expected to arrive in San Diego Tuesday for the Winter Meetings. According to SNY’s Andy Martino, the Yankees had no idea that Judge would be coming to town. It’s not known for sure if Judge will attend the Winter Meetings in-person.
Judge attended Monday night’s game between the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and New Orleans Saints in Tampa.
“Obviously, it’s kind of public knowledge that we had a visit with him,” Giants President of Baseball Operations Farhan Zaidi told reporters Monday. “We usually don’t kind of comment on free agents at all, but that’s out there. We had a good visit. Obviously, that makes our interest official. Those conversations are continuing. We’re just trying to put our best foot forward. The process continues. But obviously, we have really, really strong interest. We thought it was a really productive visit a couple of weeks ago.”
Judge met with the Giants’ front office, including ownership, during Thanksgiving week. San Francisco is hoping that the most lucrative contract offer and the allure of playing close to home will be enough for the superstar to say goodbye to the Yankees. Judge grew up a Giants’ fan, just a couple of hours away from San Francisco.
The Yankees are believed to have offered Judge an eight-year contract worth somewhere around $300 million. There are rumors that Judge might have a nine-year deal on the table, potentially from San Francisco.
“It’s his dance card,” Yankees General Manager Brian Cashman said of Judge. “He’s a free agent. He has a chance to make decisions for him and his family. I can tell you that we are negotiating hard. [Yankees managing general partner] Hal Steinbrenner has been very public. I can tell you Hal is putting his money where his mouth is, where he told his fan base he was going to make every effort to sign this player.”
Judge has spent his entire career with the Yankees. Since being named the 2017 AL Rookie of the Year, Judge has made the playoffs in every season with New York. The Giants have one postseason appearance and no playoff series wins during that span.
Most insiders have predicted that Judge would stay with the league’s most popular team and the only franchise that he’s ever known.
San Francisco, however, has won three championships since New York won its last World Series in 2009. Even though the Yankees make more money than any other club, the Giants might be willing to outbid them for the AL’s single-season home run king.
Judge is expected to sign with the Yankees or the Giants this week.
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