(KRON) — Aaron Judge has set the baseball world on fire in 2022. The New York Yankees’ slugger has blasted 55 home runs through his team’s first 138 games of the season, giving himself a chance to set a new American League record.
However, Judge and the Yankees were not able to reach a contract extension, making him a free agent at the season’s end. Where could he be headed next?
Some, including MLB insider Jon Heyman, have speculated that it could be the San Francisco Giants. That would allow Judge to suit up for his childhood team.
Judge is a native of Linden, CA, which is just outside of Stockton. NJ.com reported in 2017 that Judge grew up loving the Giants and his favorite player as a kid was long-time Giants infielder Rich Aurilia.
The Giants are unlikely to make the MLB playoffs after miraculously winning 107 games and stunning the Los Angeles Dodgers to win the NL West in 2021. Part of the reason for that is power hitting — last year’s Giants team slugged an NL-best 241 home runs, while this year’s club is 13th in MLB with 156 through its first 137 games.
Judge would add some much-needed punch to the Giants’ lineup. He has hammered 33 more home runs than Joc Pederson, who leads the Giants with 22. Pederson is a free agent after the season.
Judge will command an astronomically large contract, and the Giants’ ownership will have to open up the pocketbook to pay him what he commands. San Francisco currently has $96.5 million committed to players in 2023, good for 15th-most in MLB.
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The team has a history of pursuing high-priced stars. The Giants were among the finalists for 2021 NL MVP Bryce Harper, who ultimately chose the Philadelphia Phillies. Perhaps Judge is the next big fish that the Giants cast their lines towards.
Judge would inject power into the Giants’ lineup and bring one of the biggest stars in baseball to the Bay Area. For a team that just lost face of the franchise Buster Posey to retirement, signing Judge would give the team another signature player.