Just ahead of the Arbitration That Simply Will Not Get Canceled, Yankees star Aaron Judge is surely doing some thinking. Luckily for the Yanks, all that thinking seems to end with the right/center fielder returning on a mega-deal at the end of the season.
But that’s not what ESPN’s Buster Olney wants you to be thinking about right now! Oh, no. He’d much rather you consider the bleakest possible picture of Judge’s future while the Yankees are surging.
Olney published a list of the seven teams that could snap Judge up if he remains unsigned entering the winter, theorizing that all it takes is one owner to show aggression to forever change the sport’s staid economic picture and ruin the Yankees’ next four or five years.
Topping the list? The usual suspects; the San Francisco Giants, who represent Judge’s Bay Area home and have money to burn, and the Chicago Cubs, who have vacancies galore and keep claiming they want to remain contenders, despite roster evidence to the contrary.
Fronting the graphic, though? The New York Mets and the Boston Red Sox.
The New York Mets and the Boston Red Sox?!
Buster Olney’s Aaron Judge destinations will terrify Yankees fans
Where … where in the blue hell did that graphic come from?! The Mets, famously the league’s big spenders, have long been rumored to be “out” on Judge. And why would he defect to the Red Sox?
Better yet, why would the Red Sox shell out $360 million for Judge and not Mookie Betts? And not Rafael Devers or Xander Bogaerts?
Of course, the article isn’t nearly as terrifying as the photo. Olney merely lays out all the possible options, otherwise known as every big-spending team that could theoretically make room for Judge if he hits the open market.
Olney’s “argument” for the Red Sox is barely an argument at all; he basically claims that the only antidote to letting Betts walk and fumbling the bag on their internal fan favorites would be swiping Judge and changing the narrative. True, but … how likely is that?
Face it, Buster. You just wanted to make Yankee fans upset, which hasn’t happened organically since early April.
Of course, in conclusion (subscription required), Olney lays out the strongest case for a Yankee return, allowing one executive to nicely sum up why the superstar shouldn’t be headed anywhere else, for his own sake (pending some embarrassing lowball):
"“If [Judge] signs with another team, it’d be like Alex Rodriguez going [from Seattle] to Texas. He’d disappear,” a rival executive said. “No matter where it is, he wouldn’t have the same impact [on the baseball landscape] than he would if he just stayed with the Yankees. If he stays with the Yankees, he’ll be the next [Derek] Jeter — they’d probably make him captain, and he’ll make twice as much money in endorsements than anywhere else.”"
Now, the counter here is … Rodriguez did go from Seattle to Texas. If the Yankees are stupid enough to disrespect Judge in arbitration and keep their offer muted, he could easily, spitefully leave.
However, it’s still hard to see him shipping up to Boston in any capacity, a reality that will have to live exclusively in the above graphic.