The offseason has not yet officially began but the Aaron Judge rumors continue to churn. It would be one thing if only one writer speculated on Judge being a fit for the SF Giants, but many baseball insiders have said the same thing. It is hard to ignore at this point.
3 reasons why Aaron Judge would want to join the SF Giants
There are plenty of reasons why Judge would return to the New York Yankees next year. He is extremely popular and he will become one of the highest-paid players in baseball history as soon as the ink dries on his next deal.
Plus, it does not hurt that many legendary Yankees players like Derek Jeter, Mariano Rivera, Jorge Posada, and Don Mattingly spent their entire career in pinstripes. Remaining with one organization for an entire career is becoming increasingly rare, but Judge will have that choice to make.
The power-hitting outfielder would be a perfect fit for all 30 baseball teams. Some small-market clubs will say they cannot afford him and that is a lie. It might not be the right time for other clubs. That said, adding Judge makes every team better.
The 30-year-old is coming off of a historic season in which he slashed .311/.425/.686 (211 OPS+) with 62 home runs, 132 RBI, and 133 runs in 696 plate appearances with the Yankees. This includes a 16.0 percent walk rate against a 25.1 percent strikeout rate.
He earned his fourth All-Star nod and is one of the heavy favorites to take home the AL MVP award. Judge turned down a seven-year, $213.5 million extension last winter and that is one bet that will pay off handsomely. He is set to earn way more than that in free agency.
But where will he land is the question? The Yankees are likely the favorites for many reasons but why would he choose the Giants instead?
Geography is one of those factors that tend to get overlooked with any prospective free agent for any team but it plays a huge role in the final decision. In fact, players typically filter prospective teams based on geography.
If a player wants to play in a warmer climate, then that likely rules out Cincinnati or Cleveland. With Judge, New York holds a lot of appeal because that is where he has played since 2016. He and his wif, Samantha Judge, have grown up there and are very familiar with the area.
However, that is not the only familiar area in Judge's life. The right-handed bat grew up in Linden, California. He attended Linden High School where he was drafted in the 31st round of the 2010 draft by the Oakland A's but did not sign.
He did not move far for college as he went to Fresno State before being selected in the first round of the 2013 draft by the Yankees. He is native to Northern California and grew up a Giants fan with longtime Giants shortstop Rich Aurilia being his favorite player.
Is returning to Northern California enough to sway Judge from the only organization he has ever known? That remains to be seen but it is one of the reasons why so many writers and insiders believe there is a connection.