For one brief, shimmering moment in time, Yankees MVP Aaron Judge became "Arson." He also became a San Francisco Giant.
Moments later, though, that celebratory fate was ripped away from the Giants' faithful, minutes after insider Susan Slusser reported that the swirling winds were beginning to carry momentum in the Judge chase to San Francisco's side. Chatter in the clubhouse was reportedly at an all-time high ... or was it?
Maybe Giants president of baseball operations Farhan Zaidi just never wanted to believe. Maybe he's a natural skeptic. Maybe something happened in the meeting. Or maybe he was just well aware of the Padres' reported massive offer for Judge and realized that he was probably sitting in third place during the Arson fiasco.
Regardless, Zaidi opened up this week on Jon Heyman and Joel Sherman's podcast, admitting he never really thought his Giants were going to seal the deal.
Yankees always had Aaron Judge free agency advantage over Giants
Naturally, the Giants now sport a better record than the Yankees anyway, and Judge is laid up due to a freak accident on a game-saving play that happened at the Giants' chief rival's stadium. Don't worry. Even when the Yankees win something, they don't really win anything anymore. Cool world we live in.
According to Zaidi, though, he believed Judge was very kind in giving his hometown team a visit and a serious glance, but never really intended to leave the Yankees' mystique behind.
"I don’t know if it’s a coping mechanism, but I never really believed he was going to sign here. Like with a lot of things, you want to control your emotions. You know, baseball is so unpredictable, both with free agency and with trades. There have been so many times when I thought a trade was at the 1-yard line or 5-yard line, and it winds up not happening, so you don’t really believe something is done before it’s done."- Farhan Zaidi
And once Hal Steinbrenner checked in from Italia, it was really over.
Judge proved this April and May that he truly has evolved into the next-level "special" player he appeared to be in 2022; the perfected power stroke was no fluke. Unfortunately, due to his latest injury, Yankees fans have been left as empty as Giants fans felt that cold night in December. San Francisco's continued to develop an impressive winning culture while the non-Judge Yankees play like molasses. You win this round, Farhan.