The 2022 winter meetings are underway in San Diego and we already saw two major signings on Monday: Justin Verlander joined the New York Mets (two years and $86 million) and Trea Turner joined the Philadelphia Phillies (11 years and $300 million). Right now, 36 of our top 50 free agents remain unsignedincluding six of the top 10.
The biggest free agent this offseason, both literally and figuratively, is reigning AL MVP Aaron Judge. The New York Yankees reportedly made the 62-homer man an offer.in the neighborhood” of eight years and $300 million, and it is expected that the judge will order a ninth year. Here’s the latest on Judge from the Winter Meetings.
Mystery teams involved?
The Yankees and San Francisco Giants are the two main players for Judge, although there are other unnamed teams in the mix, according to MLB.com. Mystery teams occasionally sign a top free agent – Let the record show that a few years ago, this writer totally nailed the San Diego Padres as a mystery team in Manny Machado — although they’re generally an 11-hour tactic to get teams to up their bids one last time. This is perhaps an indication that the judge’s agency is nearing completion.
If there really are mystery teams for Judge, Here’s our best guess as to who those clubs might be.
Judge arrives on Tuesday
Just to point out that Judge’s agency may be nearing completion, the man himself will be inside the Manchester Grand Hyatt building in San Diego on Tuesday. according to MLB.com. He’d get there sooner, but he’s busy Monday night at the Saints vs. Buccaneers game in Tampa:
To be clear, players come to the winter meetings all the time, including prominent free agents. It is an opportunity to meet face-to-face with multiple teams in a short time without hectic travel. The judge, who arrives Tuesday, isn’t making sure he’ll sign off during the winter sessions, but it could speed up the process. And when he signs, all of the sport is already in one place for the press conference. That’s convenient.
Boone spoke to Judge
Yankees manager Aaron Boone said Monday he spoke with Judge this offseason primarily to check on him and his family but also to conduct recruiting. “I can argue in my head, like, ‘Of course he’s coming back and we’re going to get there.’ But you never know with these things. I try not to allow myself to be too optimistic or too pessimistic.” Boone to MLB.com.
Is Turner changing markets?
Turner is 14 months younger than Judge and his new 11-year contract sees him through his season at the age of 40. A nine-year deal for Judge would see him through his season at age 39. Could Turner’s contract with the Phillies lead Judge to seek a 10th year? This is how long some star players have been under contract with long-term contracts:
An eight-year contract would take Judge, like Harper and Trout, to age 38. A nine-year contract would see him, like Betts, until the age of 39. Is he now pushing for that 10th year to get him through age 40 like Turner? Given the season Judge has had, I don’t think it would be unreasonable to ask for a 10th year. Doesn’t mean he gets it, but why not ask?
And for the Giants and Yankees, can they afford to lose to Judge over a 10th year covering 2032? That is so far away! We have no idea what the sport will be like then, and it’s very likely that the people who currently run baseball operations won’t run baseball operations by then. The judge’s agency could be decided if a team caves in and gives them the 10th year, even if it’s just an option.