MLB’s most sought-after free agent, Aaron Judge, has touched down in San Francisco.
A video captured Judge upon arrival, where he gave an interesting remark about what he’s doing in town.
“Visiting some family and friends, that’s about it. That’s about it,” he said winking to the camera.
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Bronx, NY: New York Yankees first baseman Anthony Rizzo and New York Yankees center fielder Aaron Judge in the dugout in the 3rd inning in game 4 of the ALCS at Yankee Stadium in the Bronx, New York on Oct 23, 2022.
(Photo by Thomas A. Ferrara/Newsday RM via Getty Images)
Judge is from Linden Calif., which is about 90 minutes away from San Francisco where the Giants, a team connected to the 2022 AL MVP in free agency, plays. Judge also grew up a Giants fan during his days of terrorizing baseball teams while playing for Linden High School and Fresno State, eventually being selected by the New York Yankees in the first round of the 2013 MLB Draft.
So what exactly does Judge’s “friends and family” have planned?
“We got something,” he said smiling.
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Looking to best the Los Angeles Dodgers in the NL West, the Giants are looking to make a splash, and there would be none better than a homegrown product like Judge. And while there are many other suitors, including the Yankees, San Fran do have money to spend.
According to Spotrac, the Giants have the 14th-highest payroll in MLB at $95.95 million right now.
On the other hand, teams like the Yankees and New York Mets are at the top of the bunch and still willing to open their check books for Judge’s services.
New York Yankees right fielder Aaron Judge runs to the dugout during the sixth inning of the team’s baseball game against the Baltimore Orioles on Saturday, Oct. 1, 2022, in New York.
(AP Photo/Adam Hunger)
Anthony Rizzo, who recently re-signed with the Yankees on a two-year deal, lobbied for his clubhouse buddy in Judge to head back to the Bronx.
“I hope Judge stays just for the sake of the game,” Rizzo said Wednesday, “because you see a lot of franchise icons not getting what they deserve for the team that they have done so much for.”
Rizzo has even said Judge deserves to be the next Yankees captain if he re-signs.
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But the offers will be steep following his MVP campaign, and it may come down to who outbids the rest of the field. Will the Giants step up? Will the Yankees, Mets or maybe even the Dodgers flex their financial muscles?
Judge and his team will find out just how far each team is willing to expand their payroll in the coming weeks.
The 6-foot-7 slugger was named the AL MVP this past Thursday, receiving all but two first-place votes after a season where he set the American League record for most home runs in a single season with 62.
Aaron Judge #99 of the New York Yankees in the first inning in game two of a double header at Globe Life Field on October 4, 2022 in Arlington, Texas.
(Bailey Orr/Texas Rangers/Getty Images)
Other than home runs, he also led the majors in RBI (131), on-base percentage (.425), slugging percentage (.686), runs (133), OPS+ (211) and total bases (391).
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His 111 walks were tops in the American League, and his .311 batting average ranked second in the AL, putting him in the Triple Crown conversation until the last couple of days of the season.