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Aaron Judge free agency: Ranking all 30 MLB teams as potential landing spots for Yankees superstar

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Aaron Judge hit his 61st home run of the year on Wednesday against the Toronto Blue Jays, meaning he has now broken Roger Maris single-season records for both the New York Yankees franchise and the American League as a whole. . With Judge also threatening to win the AL Triple Crown, it’s fair to say he’s having one of the best offensive seasons in recent history. He will likely be rewarded for this with the AL MVP award once all ballots are tallied this fall.

Judge will be rewarded in another way this winter as he could become the most in-demand free agent of the offseason. You may have heard that in the spring he turned down the Yankees’ latest contract extension offer that would have netted him more than $210 million. The decision to bet on himself now looks brilliant, and the tempting question is: who can he sign with before next season?

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We here at CBS Sports are nothing short of the dirty type, which is why below we have positioned and ranked all 30 teams based on their perceived likelihood of signing a referee. We should point out that this is more art than science – there’s still time left in the regular season, for Pete’s sake – and this drill is for entertainment purposes only. In other words, don’t get too tall or too short depending on your team’s placement.

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With the fine print out of the way, let’s get down to ranking things.

Level 1: No way, no way

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30. Pittsburgh Pirates

29. Oakland Athletics

28. Miami Marlins

27. Kansas City Royals

26. Tampa Bay Rays

25. Cincinnati Reds

Once again, Judge turned down an extension that would have netted him over $210 million. He is sure to get even more this winter. Can you imagine the royal family or the athletics handing out such a contract? Of course you can’t; not in this simulation version. We would, however, pay a small fee to watch the livestream of Pirates general manager Ben Cherington pitching the idea to owner Bob Nutting.

Level 2: Swing and Miss

24. Detroit Tigers

23. Washington Nationals

22. Baltimore Orioles

21. Milwaukee Brewers

20. Colorado Rocky Mountains

19. Los Angeles Angels

None of these teams seem to 1) spend the money they need or 2) make it to the playoffs. Given that the judge will have his choice of teams that can and will do both, there is no point in spending a lot of time weighing the respective merits of this group. We admit that the idea of ​​Judge joining forces with Mike Trout and Shohei Otani is tempting, but the Angels will likely trade Otani before or after the sale.

Level 3: Missing element

18. Arizona Diamondbacks

17. Chicago White Sox

16 Minnesota Twins

15. Cleveland Guardians

The White Sox, Twins and Guardians will apparently be fighting for the Central American League crown again next season. None of them seem to be spending money on a player of Judge’s caliber, even though the Twins signed Carlos Correa last offseason, so anything is possible. The Diamondbacks team is on the rise, but they have a field full of youngsters, which means they should be spending their money elsewhere.

Level 4: On the Way of Warning

14. Philadelphia Phillies

13. San Diego Padres

12. Seattle Mariners

11. Toronto Blue Jays

10. Houston Astros

9. Atlanta Braves

8 Texas Rangers

7. St. Louis Cardinals

6. Chicago Cubs

If you told us that one of these teams was in Judge, we wouldn’t be shocked; we just don’t count on them to make a serious run due to one factor or another. Over the past year, the Padres and Rangers have made several notable additions to their rosters. We’re not sure if there’s room for a deal that Judge will demand. The Mariners, Blue Jays, Astros, and Braves all seem more likely to focus on keeping or expanding their own – the Braves, for example, have to decide if they keep Dansby Swanson in town. The Cardinals fought for Juan Soto, suggesting they might have an appetite for another big slugger. Will they pay for Judge? We are skeptical. Then there are the Cubs, who are likely to focus their energy (and their money) on upgrading the shortstop.

5. Boston Red Sox

We are skeptical about such a high ranking of the Red Sox. Chaim Bloom showed little interest in spending money, and it would be odd to trade Mookie Betts only to turn around and sign Judge a few winters later. They also need to figure out what they’re doing from the left side of their infield, to shortstop Xander Bogarts and third baseman Rafael Devers. However, there are so many teams that can realistically match Judge’s price point, and the Red Sox proved to be one of those teams.

Level 5: Favorites

We finally did it, we made it to the final four or teams that we think have the best chance of signing Judge this winter. Let’s dive right in.

4. San Francisco Giants

One front office source scoffed at our calling the Giants a good landing spot for Judge, but hear us out on that. The Giants have played Giancarlo Stanton and Bryce Harper in the past, which suggests they have an appetite for a mid-range player. Much of the existing core of San Francisco is aging, retiring or falling into disrepair, leaving Farhan Zaidi in a position where it is long overdue to import the new face of the franchise. The Giants will shed several long-term commitments both this winter and next, giving them the financial freedom to make a splash. And, hey, it might not help that Judge played in college about three hours from Oracle Park, but it probably wouldn’t hurt. Maybe this source will turn out to be correct; we just think the Giants should be a serious dark horse again for the best free agent anytime soon.

3. New York Mets

2. Los Angeles Dodgers

We’re not exactly required by law to include the Dodgers and Mets at the top of this list (and others similar in concept), but we’re closer than not. The Dodgers are terminating several major contracts this offseason, including Trea Turner and David Price. They could free up even more money by refusing to trade Cody Bellinger if they wanted to. As a result of their apparent financial flexibility, they receive a higher rating. The Mets, for their part, have shown no real distaste for spending as much money as they want under Steve Cohen. However, Billy Eppler will have some serious internal affairs to deal with this off-season as ace Jacob de Grom and closest Edwin Diaz could go into the open market. Will the Mets really want to keep these two? as well as sign the judge? Maybe so.

1. New York Yankees

Still, we have to pick the Yankees as Judge’s top potential suitor. Yes, it’s the coward’s choice, and yes, they’ve failed to lock Judge up until now. There are several factors at work that could give them a sense of urgency when both sides talk again this winter. First, Brian Cashman needs to know that his team will be much worse off without Judge. Second, the Yankees rarely let their homegrown stars go free (with the exception of Robinson Cano), and it would be hard to let Judge go after breaking the Maris record. Then there’s the Mets factor: can you imagine the mood around the Yankees if they let Judge chase him around town? Maybe Cashman and the Yankees have the guts to endure all this, but we’ll stick with the incumbent until there’s a reason to expel them.


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