Aaron Judge Suggests Preference Is To Re-Sign With Yankees In Free Agency

With the New York Yankees getting swept by the Houston Astros in the American League Championship Series, their offseason began Monday but Aaron Judge is still at least one week away from becoming a free agent.

Jude and the Yankees discussed a contract extension during Spring Training but couldn’t come to terms on a deal before the 30-year-old’s Opening Day deadline. Judge reportedly rejected offers of seven years and $213.5 million, and an eight-year, $230.5 million contract prior to the 2022 regular season beginning.

Although Judge wanted to shift his focus to matters on the field at that point, Yankees general manager Brian Cashman revealed details of their failed negotiations. That was believed to have upset the All-Star outfielder, who values privacy.

Now as Judge is poised to reach free agency, his initial comments after the ALCS nonetheless suggested his preference may be to re-sign with the Yankees, per Lindsey Adler of The Athletic:

“I’ve been clear about that since I first wore the pinstripes,” Judge said of his interest in spending his career with the Yankees. “But, you know, we couldn’t get something done before spring training, and I’m a free agent.”

The Yankees selected Judge with the 32nd overall pick in the 2013 Draft. He made his MLB debut in 2016 and became a perennial All-Star the season after.

Judge choosing to bet on himself paid off as he led the Majors in runs (133), home runs (62), RBI (131), on-base percentage (.425), slugging percentage (.686), on-base plus slugging (1.111), OPS+ (211) and total bases (391) this season. He additionally led the American League with 111 walks, and was second with a .311 batting average.

Judge narrowly missed out on the triple crown but surpassed Roger Maris’ Yankees home run record and set a new AL high with 62 homers.

How can Dodgers sign Aaron Judge?

At least $100 million is likely to come off the Dodgers payroll for the 2023 season, which would leave them in position to make an aggressive run for Judge.

They reportedly are prepared to lose Trea Turner in free agency in order to pursue signing Judge, who could either spend time in right field or as the designated hitter.

The Dodgers signing Judge could amount to Mookie Betts playing center field and perhaps mark the end of Cody Bellinger’s tenure with the organization. Betts conceivably could take on more time at second base as well in order to accommodate Judge in the Dodgers lineup.

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