The 2022 World Series between the Astros and Phillies – which shifts to Philadelphia for Game 3 tonight – will end no later than Saturday and then everyone's attention turns to free agency and specifically where New York Yankees star Aaron Judge will sign off his AL-record 62-homer season. SportsLine offers odds on his 2023 team.
Just a quick primer from CBS Sports on free agency: Eligible players become free agents Sunday. Following that is a five-day quiet period in which free agents can negotiate only with the team they played for in 2022. On Nov. 10, players who haven't re-signed during the quiet period become eligible to negotiate with any team. Nov. 10 is also the deadline for teams to make qualifying offers.
Before this season, the Yankees offered Judge an extension worth less than $32 million per season and Judge reportedly countered with a proposal of nine or 10 years at $36 million per. After his historic season, Judge may get $40 million per year now – although there's obviously little chance he will ever have such a stellar statistical season again. Only nine players in history have signed deals worth $300 million and Judge should join that exclusive club.
Why would Judge leave the Yankees? He's on the way to becoming an all-time great for that franchise and that means extra marketing opportunities off the field – think Derek Jeter. If he signs a long-term deal to stay with the team, Judge would also likely be named the Yankees' first captain since Jeter. New York is an annual contender and Yankee Stadium clearly suits Judge's swing.
Does Judge still harbor hard feelings about what he thought was a low-ball contract offer? Might he want to play close to home? Judge hails from Linden, Calif., less than 100 miles from the Giants' Oracle Park, and his parents still live in the area. He grew up a Giants fan and San Francisco will have money to spend – there is one report out there that the Giants will not be outspent -- with only about $70 million in salaries committed in 2023 assuming Carlos Rodon opts out. It is much tougher to homer at Oracle Park (22nd for homers this season) than Yankee Stadium (fourth).
One can never rule out the Dodgers, who can outspend anyone. They could bring Judge in to play right field and former AL MVP Mookie Betts, who usually plays right, has said he would be OK moving to second base. The Dodgers look to have around $160 million in payroll committed for next year. This past season, their Opening Day payroll was $263.5 million. LA might prefer to re-sign All-Star shortstop Trea Turner to a big extension instead.
No owner has more money than the Mets' Steve Cohen, and you know he'd love to steal the Yankees' thunder by signing Judge, but the Mets have a ton of their own free agents to potentially re-sign – led by Jacob deGrom when he opts out. The Chicago Cubs say they are ready to spend some money this offseason but are believed to have targeted Carlos Correa.
How hilarious would it be for the Red Sox to lure Judge to Boston? The Sox have two All-Stars with contract situations they already have to address in third baseman Rafael Devers and shortstop Xander Bogaerts.
Via SportsLine oddsmakers: Which team will sign Aaron Judge?
- Yankees -200
- Giants +300
- Mets +800
- Dodgers +900
- Cubs +1200
- Red Sox +1500
- Other/field +2000
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