Aaron Judge Landing Spots: Ex-MLB GM Pinpoints Five Most Likely Suitors

The Yankees could face stiff competition in free agency


Nov 10, 2022

Where will Aaron Judge sign in Major League Baseball free agency?

It’s the million-dollar $300 million (or more) question hanging over the offseason, as the superstar outfielder just hit the open market after one of the most impressive seasons in MLB history. He launched an American League record 62 home runs, racked up 131 RBIs and slashed .311/.425/.686, good for a mind-blowing 1.111 OPS.

While it’s hard to imagine the New York Yankees not paying whatever it takes to keep Judge, their franchise cornerstone and one of baseball’s most marketable players, the reality is they’re going to face stiff competition in free agency. Judge bet on himself by rejecting a seven-year, $213.5 million extension from the Yankees back in April, and he’s about to be rewarded handsomely for that gamble.

Jim Bowden, a former MLB general manager who writes for The Athletic, last week predicted Judge will land an eight-year, $330 million contract.

On Thursday, Bowden dug deeper into Judge’s free agency and ranked the five teams he believes are most likely to sign the four-time All-Star — in order, starting with the obvious: the Yankees, Los Angeles Dodgers, New York Mets, San Francisco Giants and Chicago White Sox.

“A team could always surprise, but there are only five that I could see making a legitimate run at signing Judge in free agency,” Bowden wrote.

The list isn’t all that shocking — Bowden also explained why each of the other 25 teams probably won’t sign Judge — because it’s basically in line with what has been speculated elsewhere ever since it became clear Judge would hit free agency. The White Sox’s inclusion is an interesting wrinkle, though, as Chicago is +10000 to sign Judge — tied for the longest odds on the board — at DraftKings Sportsbook.

“In 1996, 26 years ago, (White Sox owner Jerry Reinsdorf) made perhaps his biggest free-agent splash when he signed Albert Belle to what was then the richest contract in baseball history, a five-year, $55 million deal,” Bowden wrote. “Can history repeat itself and the White Sox shock the baseball world by inking Judge? I doubt it, and there are hints they won’t be in on top free agents. But I would never bet against the White Sox owner if he decides he wants to go down this lane.”

The Yankees (-165) were the heavy favorites at DraftKings Sportsbook as of Thursday afternoon, with Bowden’s other potential suitors — the Giants (+300), Dodgers (+450) and Mets (+1000) — next in line. The Boston Red Sox, for what it’s worth, had the fifth-shortest odds at +1600.

Thumbnail photo via Vincent Carchietta/USA TODAY Sports Images
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