Aaron Judge Heads Home For The Holidays And Let The Speculation Begin
Aaron Judge was spotted in the San Francisco area Tuesday, which normally would never be a big deal considering his hometown of Linden is approximately 95 miles east and it is Thanksgiving week when millions of people travel, and countless stories appear on the news about the topic.
“Just visiting some family and friends, that’s about it,” Judge said in a video posted to Twitter Monday night by MLB Network while resembling any other holiday travel by carrying a backpack and two small bags
Except this time Judge is not only free to travel wherever he wants, as of six days after the Astros won their second World Series he also is free to sign with any team, making him available for in theory 29 other teams but in reality a handful of other teams such as the Giants, who seem to be willing spenders and certainly interested in the most prominent name in free agency.This period is about a six months in the making.
Ever since Judge turned down the Yankee offer of a $213.5 million extension way back on April 8, a time that was so long ago that the main issue with the Nets was whether they would secure a play-in berth as opposed to whatever happens with them these days, the oohs and aahs of Judge landing in another city and meeting with another team were inevitable
Since general manager Brian Cashman told anyone who wanted to listen in a press conference room and anyone subsequently reading social media about the exact details of the offer. It was a move done for the Yankees to avoid it being leaked since they thought the details would emerge sooner or later.
It also could be perceived as the Yankees playing defense where it is a scenario that they could say we tried in case it does not work out.
Except the Yankees are now in the point where trying now involves a deal that starts with the number three as in 300 million and beyond. It is that way because of what unfolded in the subsequent six months as Judge captivated audiences with a home run chase the ended with him hitting 62 homers.
Along the way, the world seemed to stand still Judge stood at 60 for nearly a week. After he hit his 60th in the ninth inning to beat Pittsburgh, the anticipation built for every subsequent at-bat and most certainly the anticipation of leverage for his representation when free agency hit.Besides highlighting the spectacular season that resulted in a unanimous AL MVP selection, his agency could use the leverage of a client whose at-bats bring people to the games, eyeballs to the viewing platforms, even to those watching early season college football who may not have switched the channel when his at-bats were shown.
As for any talks with the Yankees, the closest thing to a comment came during his MVP conference call Thursday when he mentioned meetings with Hal Steinbrenner.
“So far, so good,” Judge said. “I’ve had some positive talks with Hal after the season. Really looking forward to getting this whole free agency process going. It’s something that not a lot of baseball players really get, this opportunity to kind of choose where they want to go…it’s going to be a fun process that my family and I will definitely enjoy.”
So far, the extent of any conversation is unknown since Judge often keeps any comments close to the vest like a certain other former Yankee, who signed a 10-year, $189 contract in 1999. The most significant comments came from Anthony Rizzo, whose conference call to announce his re-signing last week turned into the first baseman sharing his feeling on Judge, whom he has grown close with.
It is feelings conveyed by Steinbrenner, whose father re-signed Bernie Williams at the last minute around Thanksgiving in 1998, avoiding a scenario where the revered center fielder became a Boston Red Sox and the Yankees pivoted to Albert Belle.
“I’ve absolutely conveyed that I want him to be a Yankee for the rest of his life,” Steinbrenner said last week at the owners’ meetings in New York. “No doubt about that. He knows that.”
In the meantime, what anyone knows is that Judge is enjoying his time in his hometown at the holidays like millions of other people. Just not everyone is an in demand right fielder coming off a 62-homer season.