Did pending New York Yankees free agent superstar Aaron Judge overplay his hand? According to sources, one of the fattest-pocketed teams in MLB does not plan to pursue him with the same veracity as his current employer.
10 games into 2022, Judge is hitting an empty-calories .257/.350/.429, without a single memorable moment sprinkled into that line. Though clear-eyed fans hoped his unresolved contract issues wouldn’t poison his ’22 production, thus far that feels like a pipe dream.
If the unsigned long-term deal isn’t directly affecting Judge’s mentality, it’s certainly affecting fans’ perception of the slugger. His early-season line is steady and productive, if unimpressive, but his failures have become magnified in the season’s first weeks, his malaise often standing in for something intangibly missing with this current corps.
Is Judge just settling in, like Josh Donaldson or Aaron Hicks? Or is he daydreaming of a robust market that might not exist in the form he’s envisioning?
According to sources, Judge can cross the New York Mets off his list of suitors, unless he’d like to accept nearly the same deal the Yankees have offered him from the other side of town.
Steve Cohen, he of the never-ending expenditures, seems to believe the Yankees offered Judge a fair (and still unsigned) deal and won’t be blasting it out of the water.
Why would Mets pass on Yankees’ Aaron Judge unless Judge overplayed his hand?
According to Jon Heyman’s piece, the foundational reason Cohen will stay away from Judge is that he does not believe the player, in his advancing years, to be worth a package greater than what he’s already been offered.
This says nothing of a potential San Francisco Giants bid, for example, but Cohen values Judge similarly to what’s already been floated to him.
Plus, there’s this weird little nugget:
"And while Cohen hasn’t demonstrated any interest beyond improving his club, at least one person absolutely could not envision the relatively new Mets owner doing something so overt to hurt his crosstown rival.“He wouldn’t do that to the Yankees,” one source opined."
With all due respect, he probably would “do that to the Yankees” with a player on a smaller scale, or a player he had genuine interest in. This doesn’t feel like it’s about some unspoken code with a rival across the city. It’s about the joy in the pursuit — as well as some coin that’s being saved for, uh, a Washington Nationals superstar down the line.
That goes for both teams in New York.
Now, Juan Soto … there’s a player who’s worth the $36 million per year Judge is currently reportedly requesting, plus an extra $5-10 million.
Will Soto change teams this offseason in a seven-for-one trade, or will he stay put ’til free agency? The Mets may have placed Judge on the back burner as they wait for the answer to that question (though it’s hard to really imagine the Yankees in the same stratosphere, based on their recent behavior).