Aaron Judge, MLB’s most wanted free agent, has landed in San Francisco.
A video was recorded of the Judge making an interesting comment about what he was doing in town when he arrived in town.
“Visiting some family and friends, that’s all. That’s all,” he said, winking at the camera.
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The judge is from Linden California, about 90 minutes from San Francisco, where the Giants, a team tied to the 2022 AL MVP in free agency, play. Judge also grew up to be a Giants fan during the days when he was terrorizing the baseball teams while playing for Linden High and Fresno State, and was eventually selected by the New York Yankees in the first round of the 2013 MLB Draft.
So what exactly did the Judge’s “friends and family” have planned?
“We found something,” he said with a smile.
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Looking to beat the Los Angeles Dodgers at NL West, the Giants want to make a splash and it doesn’t get much better than a domestic product like Judge. And while there are many other suitors, including the Yankees, San Fran has money to spend.
According to Spotrac, the Giants currently have the 14th highest payroll in MLB at $95.95 million.
On the other hand, teams like the Yankees and the New York Mets are at the head of the group and are still willing to open their checkbooks for Judge’s services.
Anthony Rizzo, who recently re-signed to a two-year deal with the Yankees, lobbied for his clubhouse friend at Judge to return to the Bronx.
“I hope the Judge stays put for the sake of the game alone,” Rizzo said on Wednesday, “because you see a lot of franchise icons don’t get what they deserve for the team they’ve done so much for.”
Rizzo even said that if Judge re-signs he deserves to be the next Yankees captain.
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But after the MVP campaign, the bids will be very high and may depend on who bids from the rest of the field. Will the giants step up? Will the Yankees, the Mets, and perhaps even the Dodgers flex their finances?
Judge and his team will learn in the coming weeks how much each team is willing to expand their payroll.
The 6-foot-7 slugger was named AL MVP last Thursday and took all but two of the first-place votes after a season in which he set the American League record for most home runs in a single season with 62.
Apart from home runs, RBI (131) also led majors in base percentage (.425), deceleration percentage (.686), runs (133), OPS+ (211) and overall bases (391).
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His 111 walks were top in the American League and his .311 batting average placed second in the AL, putting him in the Triple Crown conversation until the final few days of the season.