Aaron Judge has been a popular name on this site as the SF Giants have frequently been considered a potential landing spot for the power-hitting outfielder. However, there is a possibility that he ends up with the Los Angeles Dodgers as well.
Longtime SF Giants division rivals could be suitors for Aaron Judge
I suppose any major free agent could end up with the Dodgers at this point as they have massive amounts of money to spend. This is not to say that the Giants do not have a lot of money. They do but the longtime division rivals have been much more aggressive in spending as they consistently boast a championship-caliber roster.
Of course, that has led to some pretty predictable and laughable collapses as well. The pain that comes with losing clearly has not affected the Dodgers' desire to spend heavily.
Mark Feinsand of MLB.Com speculates that the Dodgers could land Judge, moving former AL MVP Mookie Betts to second base in the process. Feinsend adds that the Dodgers will free up over $100 million against the Competitive Balance Tax (CBT) with players like Trea Turner, Justin Turner, Craig Kimbrel, and Clayton Kershaw becoming free agents.
It bears mentioning that not only do the Dodgers have a lot of money coming off of the books, but they continue to record the best attendance numbers in the league. In 2022, the Dodgers had an attendance of 3.8 million, which ranked as the best mark in baseball by a wide margin.
Judge registered a .311/.425/.686 line (211 OPS+) with 62 home runs, 131 RBI, and 133 runs in 696 plate appearances for the New York Yankees this past season. The Yankees reached the ALCS but got knocked out by the Houston Astros in four games.
If the Giants end up signing Judge, it is not going to be easy. They will have to compete against both the Dodgers and the Yankees for the 30-year-old outfielder. It feels likely that Judge will remain in New York, but it felt like Freddie Freeman was destined to remain with the Atlanta Braves last winter as well.
A lot can change once free agency begins. The Giants will have more room below the CBT than just about every big-market club in baseball. But does the CBT even matter to a team like the Dodgers, especially when it comes to a player of Judge's caliber?
It is unlikely and Los Angeles will want to avoid yet another disappointing playoff exit next season. Adding Judge would go a long way in attempting to do that.