It’s not that New York Yankees fans took the report from earlier in the offseason of the Mets’ aversion to an Aaron Judge chase in the offseason as gospel … it’s just that this iteration of the “buzz” really doesn’t seem to make much sense.
Judge has a desire to remain a Yankee for life, which has been reiterated on countless occasions. This past weekend on Sunday Night Baseball, he even left the door open for a contract extension to occur during the season, which was initially off the table when he set the Opening Day deadline.
Then again, the longer this drags on, the greater the chances Judge hits the open market and has conversations with the other 29 teams about his free agency. The Yankees don’t want that and it seems Judge doesn’t, either.
If he does hit free agency, there will be a limited amount of suitors, with the Mets and Boston Red Sox listed by some insiders this year. We won’t even entertain the possibility of the Red Sox, but the Mets will be a perennial free agency threat for anybody with the richest owner in the sport.
If Steve Cohen wants to spend money, he will. He did it this offseason when he splurged before the lockout and disrupted the order the other MLB owners were trying to set over the players.
But is he really going to spend his money out of anger? Because his team couldn’t win the NL East in 2022? One MLB insider thinks that could be a possibility … and that just seems farfetched.
Will the Mets chance Yankees’ Aaron Judge if the Braves win the NL East?
"“Steinbrenner’s franchise has deep pockets. But he has never had to dig into them to outbid Cohen — the man who chuckled when the other owners named a luxury tax threshold after him.“Which is why the Atlanta Braves may hold the key to Judge’s $300 million dreams. Not because the Braves will fork over that sum. But if Atlanta overtakes the Mets in the National League East and relegates Cohen to the wild-card round, it is hard to envision the hedge-fund billionaire sitting quietly. And no individual player better suits his roster’s needs, specifically a power threat to pair with first baseman Pete Alonso, than Judge.”"
Now, we’re unsure if Judge has a “$300 million dream” outside of the farfetched rumor that his representation countered the Yankees’ seven-year, $213 million offer with a 10-year, $360 million request. In the event Judge does leave the Yankees, one would suspect there would have to be a significant gap in money, and owner Hal Steinbrenner recently acknowledged it could take a “record” price to keep the prized slugger. So how big would that gap have to be for Judge to leave for the Mets?
And how angry would Cohen have to get to ferociously out-bid the Yankees and other teams like the Red Sox, Giants, Dodgers, Cubs and others, all of whom are expected to have flexible payrolls after the season?
If Cohen wants to spend, he’s going to spend. But then again, he’s a businessman. He’s not going to fork over money in a fit of rage. The manner in which he’s conducted business with the Mets has been equal parts aggressive and strategic.
The defending World Series champion Braves surging and swiping the division from the Mets really doesn’t seem like it would cause a seismic shift in Cohen’s way of doing business, especially since he has to worry about taking care of guys like Jacob deGrom, Edwin Diaz (and a lot of the bullpen), Pete Alonso, Brandon Nimmo, Taijuan Walker and others possibly as early as this offseason. Judge would solve many problems, but it seems the Mets have a ways to go in further building their core and ensuring there’s a foundation rather than putting another $300 million contract on the books in a fit of rage.