It’d be great if everyone got into the mindset that “anything is possible” once free agency arrives. The New York Yankees did not lock up Aaron Judge. He’ll be the biggest name on the market. The Yankees by no means have the “upper hand” to retain the likely AL MVP.
Once upon a time, it seemed like Judge was the Yankees’ to lose. Once upon a time, rumors suggested the Mets and the richest owner in baseball, Steve Cohen, wouldn’t pursue the slugger if he made it to free agency.
Well, both tunes have changed. Judge is no guarantee to return to New York, with various other suitors lurking (such as San Francisco, Chicago and possibly others, including both LA teams and Atlanta). And now, one of the most esteemed baseball insiders believes the Mets will be involved in the bidding.
Per Ken Rosenthal, who was live on Thursday night’s FOX broadcast for the Mets vs. Pirates game, thinks Cohen might go after Judge solely to satiate Mets fans who want to make Yankees fans’ lives a living hell.
Though Rosenthal said he still thinks Judge will eventually return to the Bronx, he did allude to Judge being unhappy with how contract talks went before the 2022 season and how that could affect future negotiations.
The Yankees not extending Aaron Judge seems to have been a big mistake
The big, bad $6 billion Yankees are no more. Despite their “franchise-high” payroll this year, they still don’t spend like the most powerful team in MLB. They refuse to take risks without them being calculated down to the last penny. When they have the opportunity to overwhelm and go the extra mile, they don’t. And please, signing Gerrit Cole and trading for Giancarlo Stanton don’t count. Stop referencing those moves.
If the Philadelphia Phillies and San Diego Padres are anywhere near the Yankees in terms of payroll, you know Hal Steinbrenner and Co. are simply doing it wrong. With Cohen a few miles away, this isn’t your same old down in the dumps Mets run by the frugal Wilpons. This is a team looking, dying, and expecting to contend. And money isn’t an obstacle.
That’s what makes Cohen lurking so uncomfortable for the Yankees. If Judge gets disrespected by the Yankees again, receives the money he wants, and gets to stay in New York, why wouldn’t he join the Mets?
Rosenthal mentioning this on a national broadcast has to hold some semi-serious weight, too. The Mets were playing the Pirates! The Pirates! And Judge’s name popped into conversation and was quickly linked to Cohen’s potential free agency endeavors two months from now?
Yankees fans just better hope Steinbrenner and Cashman get this done, and fast. The more time they spend jerking around because of a few extra million, the greater the odds Judge is wearing a new uniform on Opening Day 2023.