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Aaron Judge's Free Agency: Ranks All 30 MLB Teams as Contenders for the Yankees Superstar

Aaron Judge hit his 61st home run of the year Wednesday against the Toronto Blue Jays, tying Roger Maris’ season record for the New York Yankees franchise and the American League overall. Given that the unleashing judge is threatening the AL Triple Crown, it’s fair to write that he’s having one of the best offensive seasons in recent history. Once all votes are tallied, he could be rewarded in the form of the AL’s Most Valuable Player award.

Judge is set to be the most popular free agent of the offseason, and this winter will pay off in another way. You may have heard he turned down the Yankees’ final contract extension offer in the spring. His decision to bet on himself now looks admirable, but it begs the fascinating question: Who will he end up signing by next season?

We at CBS Sports aren’t the picky types. So below, we’ve stratified and ranked all 30 teams based on their likelihood of signing a judge. It should be noted that this is more art than science – there is still time left in the regular season for Pete’s sake – and exercise is for entertainment purposes only. should not be too high or too low depending on team placement.

With the fine print out of the way, let’s get down to ranking.

Tier 1: It can’t be helped, it can’t be helped

30. Pittsburgh Pirates

29. Oakland Athletics

28. Miami Marlins

27. Kansas City Royals

26. Tampa Bay Rays

25. Cincinnati Reds

Again, the judge declined an extension that would have paid out more than $210 million. I have no doubt he will receive even more this winter. Can you imagine the Royals or Athletics making such a deal? Of course not. Not in this version of the simulation. However, you’ll pay a small fee to watch a livestream where Pirates general manager Ben Chellington presents his ideas to owner Bob Nutting.

Tier 2: swing and miss

24. Detroit Tigers

23. Washington Nationals

22. Baltimore Orioles

21. Milwaukee Brewers

20. Colorado Rockies

19. Los Angeles Angels

None of these teams seem likely to 1) spend the money they need or 2) make it to the postseason. Given how judges can do both, and how they choose teams that do both, it doesn’t make sense to waste a lot of time weighing the merits of each in this group. I admit the idea of ​​joining forces with Mike Trout and Shohei Ohtani is tempting, but it seems likely that the Angels will trade Ohtani before or after the sale.

Tier 3: Missing elements

18. Arizona Diamondbacks

17. Chicago White Sox

16. Minnesota Twins

15. Cleveland Guardians

The White Sox, Twins and Guardians will once again battle for the American League Central title next season. The Twins signed Carlos Correa last offseason, but they are unlikely to get a player of Judge’s quality. The Diamondbacks are a team on the rise, but their outfield is full of youngsters, suggesting they should spend their coins elsewhere.

Tier 4: On warning tracks

14. Philadelphia Phillies

13. San Diego Padres

12. Seattle Mariners

11. Toronto Blue Jays

10. Houston Astros

9. Atlanta Braves

8. Texas Rangers

7. St. Louis Cardinals

6. Chicago Cubs

We wouldn’t be shocked to hear that one of these teams was involved in judging. We don’t expect them to have a serious run because of this or that factor. I don’t know if there’s room for a deal like the Judges demand. The Mariners, Blue Jays, Astros and Braves all seem likely to focus on maintaining or expanding their own teams. . The Cardinals are looking to acquire Juan his Soto, suggesting they are willing to acquire another big his slugger. Will they pony up for the judge? We are skeptical. The Cubs will probably focus their energy (and money) on upgrades at shortstop.

5. Boston Red Sox

I’m also skeptical of ranking the Red Sox that high. Chime Bloom has shown little willingness to spend and it seems strange to trade Mookie Betts just to turn around and sign Judges after a few winters. Besides, they have to figure out what they’re doing on the left side of the infield with shortstop Xander Bogaerts and third baseman Rafael Devers. However, there are so many teams that can realistically meet the judge’s price, and the Red Sox happen to be one of those teams.

Tier 5: Favorites

We’ve finally made it to the top four, the teams most likely to sign a judge this winter.

4. San Francisco Giants

One front office source mocked us for citing the Giants as the preferred landing spot for judges, but hear about this. , suggesting they want a mid-range slugger. With much of San Francisco’s existing core aging and retiring or declining, Farhan Zaidi said importing a new face for the franchise is a thing of the past. Give up any long-term commitments and give them the financial freedom to make a splash. No. Perhaps the source will prove correct. We believe the Giants will reappear soon as a serious dark horse among top free agents.

3. New York Mets

2. Los Angeles Dodgers

We’re not legally bound to include the Dodgers and Mets high on this list (and other teams with similar concepts), but they’re closer than they are. The Dodgers have signed some big deals this offseason, including those belonging to Trea Turner and David Price.They can release even more money by non-bid Cody Bellinger if they choose to do so. The Mets have shown no real aversion to spending as much money as they want under Steve Cohen. Billy Eppler has some major internal business to handle this offseason because it could get into the Mets. When Will you sign the judge? Maybe so.

1. New York Yankees

Still, I have to go with the Yankees as a frontrunner for judges. Yes, this is a coward’s choice, and yes, they have so far failed to lock in Judges. There are several factors that For one thing, Brian Cashman must know that his team would be far worse without a judge towing. For another, the Yankees rarely allow locally grown stars to leave in free agency (Robinson Cano being an exception). It will be difficult to leave Judge after he breaks Maris’ record. Then there’s the Mets factor. Can you imagine the vibe around the Yankees if they allow the judges to high tail them all over town? Perhaps Cashman and the Yankees have the stomach to endure it all, but there could be a reason to leave them out. Until then, we’re sticking with our incumbents.