The Los Angeles Dodgers have three additional free agents after non-tendering Cody Bellinger, Edwin Ríos and Luke Williams ahead of the 5 p.m. PT deadline on Friday.
While it remains possible the Dodgers could re-sign Bellinger to a more team-friendly contract, the club is now in need of another outfielder. The biggest name available is Aaron Judge, who just won the 2022 American League MVP Award after a historic season with the New York Yankees that saw him break Roger Maris’ American League home run record.
The Dodgers have been connected to Judge this offseason, but were previously said to be behind the incumbent Yankees and the San Francisco Giants in the sweepstakes.
Given their recent moves, however, the Dodgers may now be in position to make a bigger run at Judge, via Jon Heyman of the NY Post:
Word going around now is Dodgers will make a run at Aaron Judge. Logical with $100M now off the books with Bellinger, Kimbrel, Anderson, Heaney, Price and 2 Turners off the roster. Needs include SS, 3B, SPs, RP and now OF.
— Jon Heyman (@JonHeyman) November 19, 2022
As Heyman noted, the Dodgers had significant money come off the books with more than a dozen players reaching free agency since the start of the offseason.
That could give them extra flexibility in pursuing Judge, who will likely receive a contract that exceeds $300 million in total value. Though, the Dodgers have several other needs and could choose to allocate the savings to multiple positions.
The Yankees are still believed to be the favorites to re-sign Judge, and their chances seemingly improved when they retained Anthony Rizzo, who is close friends with the four-time All-Star. The Giants remain a threat as well, especially with president of baseball operations Farhan Zaidi hinting the team won’t be outbid for Judge.
An earlier report indicated the Dodgers are prioritizing signing a top shortstop over Judge. If Trea Turner departs for another team, L.A. could turn its attention to Carlos Correa, Xander Bogaerts or Dansby Swanson.
Giants reportedly Aaron Judge’s No. 1 choice
While it’s unclear if Judge is close to choosing a team, it was previously reported the Giants are his preferred destination. Judge grew up in Northern California and played his college ball at Cal State Fresno.
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