The New York Yankees have too much on their plate with the 106-win Houston Astros to worry about the offseason right now. The other teams that started their free agency period a few weeks ahead of schedule, though, are champing at the bit to make the Bombers nervous.
That group, including the San Francisco Giants, Boston Red Sox, and New York Mets, welcomed another member this past week when the Los Angeles Dodgers took their 111 wins home for the winter against the San Diego Padres.
The Dodgers, despite a regular season for the ages, have much to address at the Winter Meetings and beyond. Their star shortstop Trea Turner is a free agent, and is likely to command a $200 million deal in an offseason that also features Dansby Swanson and Xander Bogaerts (probably) at the position.
Despite the fact that anonymous people enter their clubhouse every offseason and become aces, they’re very much short on pitching, poised to lose Tyler Anderson and Andrew Heaney and desperately in need of a bigger name to actually strike fear in the hearts of their postseason opponents.
Never mind all that, though, because according to MLB insider Mark Feinsand, the Dodgers are considering tossing a Turner pursuit aside and preparing a major offer for Aaron Judge.
Dodgers preparing to outbid Yankees for Aaron Judge?
The Dodgers have been lurking in the weeds on multiple recent high-profile free agent pursuits, from Gerrit Cole to Carlos Correa. Ultimately, in the wake of the Mookie Betts deal and Trevor Bauer disaster, they’ve allocated funds to the slightly cheaper alternatives.
Don’t get us wrong. That still means they’ve walked away with Freddie Freeman and a Chris Taylor extension. It’s just a little different than the $40 million AAV splurge it’ll probably take to secure Judge’s services — and paying someone else’s player through his late 30s isn’t the most “Andrew Friedman” idea of all time.
All that being said, the Yankees have to be scared whenever another team flush with cash crashes the Judge chase, even if this does feel like a smokescreen specifically to make the San Francisco Giants uncomfortable — or to force them into an overpay.
The dirty secret of the Judge deal is that the later years of the contract are very unlikely to work out. Most teams can’t willingly absorb such regression, whereas the Yankees sort of have to in order to maintain their brand, and can definitely worry about 2029 when 2029 actually arrives.
The Dodgers are also among the clubs that could definitely survive despite a potentially harmful back end of the contract. If they really want to, they can put the clamps on the Yankees here.