MLB insider Jon Morosi has become the point person for the Aaron Judge free agency sweepstakes. He had the “news” that Judge was meeting with the San Francisco Giants over Thanksgiving weekend. He’s dropped a few tidbits of info on the matter since, too.
But at this point, it’s unclear if he really knows what he’s saying. Or if he’s being fed inconsistent information.
Morosi has long pegged the Giants as a legitimate threat to steal Judge from the Yankees, which has been credible the moment the AL MVP rejected New York’s contract extension offer before Opening Day. All signs pointed to Judge possibly returning home to his childhood team that had a ton of money to spend.
It was always going to be more than just money for Judge, though. Any Yankees fan could’ve told you that. Judge is not taking a massive contract to be “the guy” among faceless, league average players. That’s why the Yankees very much need to upgrade in various ways this offseason to sweeten their pitch.
Nobody’s denying the Giants’ ability to upend the baseball world and upgrade, too, but Yankees fans have been looking at San Fran’s roster wondering what would convince Judge to leave for a team in a division with two (or maybe three) teams that are currently better than them right now. While Morosi tried to spook Yankees fans on Thursday morning with his latest Judge update … he also kind of contradicted himself.
The Yankees are more and more likely to retain Aaron Judge
"“The Giants are a very realistic possibility. This is not a ‘Yankees at 70 percent likelihood and the Giants at 30.’ I think that we are very close to 50-50, where if the Giants really step up and get that AAV up closer to $40 million a year, there’s a legitimate chance that Aaron Judge becomes a San Francisco Giant.”"
Morosi continued, which is where this gets a bit more confusing for Giants fans.
"“I really believe Aaron Judge won’t sign with the Giants unless there is a credible and actionable plan to put a winning team around him that can get to the postseason. I don’t think Aaron Judge will take on all that pressure and expectation of going across the country if he looks at the roster and says, ‘we’re gonna finish .500 behind the Dodgers and Padres.'”"
The Yankees reportedly offered a deal that would pay Judge $37.5 million per season, making him the highest-paid position player in history on an AAV basis. So, not only would the Giants have to offer more money or potentially more years, but they’re going to have to invest further to improve upon their .500 record from 2022.
As Harold Reynolds pointed out in the MLB Network clip, the Giants could point to the fact they won a franchise record 107 games in 2021. That is an indisputable fact. But how much weight does that hold?
The Giants choked out of the NLDS that year, outgunned by the Dodgers. They’ve made the playoffs just twice since their last World Series title in 2014. Over the last 19 seasons, they’ve made the postseason just five times (though the conversion rate with three titles is impressive).
All we’re saying is that the Giants are not perennial contenders. And that 107-win season is looking flukier by the hour since it was buoyed by renaissance campaigns from washed up veterans in Brandon Belt, Evan Longoria, Brandon Crawford and the since-retired Buster Posey. Three of those four are no longer with the team. San Fran is slated to lose its best pitcher in Carlos Rodón. The lineup, at this very moment, is horrific, with Joc Pederson as the star.
Morosi calling this more of a “50-50” chance, with the Giants seemingly in need of offering more money (that the Yankees would probably match anyway) in addition to adding multiple star players to build their World Series contender, seems like arguably the best possible game of Russian Roulette Brian Cashman could play.