New York Yankees outfielder Aaron Judge just took home the AL MVP award after putting together one of the most impressive seasons in baseball history. Is his next stop the SF Giants? He took to Instagram on Saturday to express his gratitude for playing for the Yankees in a message that had a slight feeling of closure.
Did SF Giants outfield target bid farewell to the New York Yankees?
Of course, every statement a top free agent makes is very calculated. Judge is represented by Scott Boras, and it would not be surprising if the power-hitting outfielder has received guidance on what he can publicly say as a way to maintain as much leverage as possible.
In his Instagram post, Judge stated that he would never take for granted the teammates and opportunities that New York has afforded. On top of that, he said that it was an honor to take home the AL MVP award while wearing pinstripes:
It is not overt by any means, but there is a hint of closure in his most recent post. With that being said, he and his representatives are playing 4-D chess. He is arguably creating a sense that he may not return to New York next year. Whether that is authentic or not is up for debate but this is all about creating leverage.
Judge will be the most coveted free agent this winter after slashing .311/.425/.686 (211 OPS+) with 62 home runs, 131 RBI, and 133 runs in 696 plate appearances. His home run output (62) set an American League record and he led baseball in runs (133), RBI (131), and walks (111).
The Giants have been speculated as the biggest threat to sign Judge away from the Yankees. They will not be the only team in the mix as their division rivals are always looking for ways to upgrade an already star-studded roster.
It has often been mentioned that Judge grew up in Linden, California. He was a Giants fan as a kid and attended Fresno State University before being drafted in the first round of the 2013 draft by the Yankees. New York has been the only organization that Judge has ever known.
The possibility of continuing his career with the Yankees while building on his legendary status holds enormous appeal. The Giants are hoping that the appeal of playing in front of a home crowd and a competitive offer are enough to make Judge spurn the Yankees.
These details are all being used by Judge's representatives. At the end of the day, the 30-year-old outfielder is going to take the most lucrative offer. His agents will try to pit teams against each other to get an even better deal completed. Whether his post on Instagram was a farewell, that information is being used to drive up the price.