Is Yankees' spring blunder giving SF Giants better chance at Judge?

Brian Cashman, Damon Oppenheimer, Aaron Judge
Brian Cashman, Damon Oppenheimer, Aaron Judge / Adam Hunger/GettyImages

Ever since the New York Yankees were eliminated from the Major League Baseball playoffs in the American League Division Series, and especially once free agency opened in early-November, the talk of the baseball industry has revolved around where Aaron Judge would sign. Would he stay with the Yankees, the only organization he's ever played for? Or would the SF Giants, the team Judge grew up rooting for just east of the Bay Area, swoop in with the right deal for the AL Most Valuable Player?

Many around baseball have been assuming the Yankees remain the favorites for Judge's services, even with the California ties. Even so, the longer he goes without agreeing to a contract with New York, the more it seems the Giants or another team could overwhelm him with an offer.

Maybe the reason Judge didn't re-sign with the Yankees already, and that the rumors about San Francisco's chances continue to get more positive, is that Yankees management hurt their own cause.

Judge "blindsided" by Yankees GM's action

In an article today as part of Time Magazine naming him their 2022 Athlete of the Year, Judge was quoted as being "a little upset" that a past contract offer from the Yankees was revealed by Brian Cashman, New York's longtime general manager.

After the MLB Lockout ended in March, Judge and the Yankees had discussions on a contract extension, as the outfielder was entering his final year of team control before he could venture into free agency. Judge set a deadline of Opening Day, and when the team didn't make an offer he liked he decided to bet on himself and turned in a record-setting season, breaking the longstanding AL home run mark with 62 blasts.

In the article, Judge says that, after he declined a $213.5-million, seven-year offer, "We kind of said, 'Hey, let's keep this between us.'" But after Cashman told the media what Judge turned down, the star was "upset that the numbers came out." Judge went on to say he knew it was "a negotiation tactic" designed to put pressure on him and turn fans and the media against him, finishing with "That part of it I didn't like."

Is Judge upset with the Yankees and looking to go elsewhere, especially to the team he cheered for growing up? Only time will tell.