Rumor: SF Giants confidence in signing Aaron Judge "quietly growing"
I should caution that while Nightengale is well-connected, his predictions do not always come true. At times, the opposite of what he says happens. That said, Nightengale added that the Giants have become "ultra-aggressive in talks" to land Judge.
On top of this, the USA Today writer noted that Judge's camp has given the Yankees no assurances that they will be able to match another team's offer. This could be a ploy by Judge and his representatives to motivate the Yankees to increase their offer or it could be a legitimate bargaining tactic.
Either way, the Giants have been unusually public in their pursuit of Judge this offseason. At the end of November, they had the 30-year-old visit San Francisco, which included recruiting pitches from Joc Pederson, basketball star Steph Curry, and rap legend E-40.
The fact that the Giants had Judge over for an in-person meeting carries weight. Usually, that is a sign that talks have progressed to a point to where contract parameters can be discussed. Interestingly, Yankees general manager Brian Cashman has not met in person with Judge since the end of the season.
Perhaps, Cashman feels comfortable in the pitches that they have made to Judge leading up to free agency that an in-person meeting is not necessary.
According to Cots, the Giants are sitting approximately $95 million below the $233 million Competitive Balance Tax (CBT) threshold for 2023. No other big market team has as much payroll flexibility as the Giants this winter, so they are in a position to land a big name.
For the sake of comparison, the Yankees are about $13 million below the CBT. The salary cap in baseball is a soft one, so teams can exceed if they choose with the penalties being a combination of financial and potential draft capital.
Any team in baseball should want to sign Judge. The longtime outfielder slashed .311/.425/.686 (211 OPS+) with 62 home runs, 131 RBI, and 133 runs in 696 plate appearances last year. He earned his fourth All-Star bid this year while taking home the AL MVP award.
Obviously, it is going to cost teams a lot of money. The Yankees have reportedly offered Judge an eight-year, $300 million contract. His representatives are said to be looking for nine years, so the Yankees' current offer, if true, seems to be below expectations. The Giants are certainly in a position to top that offer.