Giants extend large offer to Judge (report)

December 7th, 2022

SAN DIEGO – The Giants ramped up their pursuit for star slugger  on Tuesday, reportedly offering the reigning American League MVP a deal in the neighborhood of $360 million, according to MLB Network insider Jon Heyman.

The duration of the contract offered by the Giants is unclear, though. The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal previously reported that the 30-year-old Judge is expected to command a nine-year deal after crushing an AL-record 62 home runs for the Yankees in 2022. The offer would easily rank as the biggest contract in Giants history, surpassing the eight-year, $159 million extension franchise icon Buster Posey signed in March 2013.

The Giants and the Yankees have long been viewed as the top two suitors for Judge, a Linden, Calif., native and Fresno State product who visited Oracle Park for a two-day meeting with his childhood team last month. President of baseball operations Farhan Zaidi confirmed on Monday that the Giants have a “really, really strong interest” in Judge and said talks remain ongoing.

“I feel good about what we’ve done process-wise,” Zaidi said. “I feel good about what we’ve done. Obviously, some of it is beyond our control. I just don’t want to characterize it beyond that. It’s been a lot of people in the organization that put in a lot of work. I think we’ve put ourselves in a good position, but free agency is about players getting to make these decisions.”

Zaidi declined to comment further on Tuesday, though he did sign another power-hitting outfielder from Northern California in Mitch Haniger, who agreed to a three-year, $43.5 million contract with an opt-out after the 2024 season. Haniger’s deal isn’t expected to take the Giants out of the running for Judge, as they’ve been looking to acquire multiple outfielders this offseason. 

The Giants are expected to be aggressive in pursuing marquee free agents following their disappointing 2022 campaign, though Heyman reported that the Yankees are still viewed as the favorites to retain Judge. New York general manager Brian Cashman told reporters on Monday that he’s made multiple offers to Judge and is “negotiating hard” to keep the 6-foot-7 outfielder in pinstripes.

Still, Cashman said he’s received no assurance from Judge’s agent, Page Odle, that the Yankees will have the chance to match or top a final offer from a rival team.

New York manager Aaron Boone opened his media session at the Manchester Grand Hyatt on Tuesday by telling reporters, “I know nothing, I really don’t,” and said he didn’t want to begin to imagine the Yankees’ roster without Judge. 

“I don’t even want to go there yet,” Boone said. “But at the end of the day, we’re the New York Yankees. The task never stops in trying to improve and become the best team we can be. Hopefully, that involves Aaron.”

In an interview with TIME Magazine that was published on Tuesday, Judge revealed that he was displeased by the Yankees’ decision to publicly announce the seven-year, $213.5 million extension offer he turned down prior to Opening Day.

“We kind of said, ‘Hey, let’s keep this between us.’ I was a little upset that the numbers came out,” Judge told TIME, which named him its 2022 Athlete of the Year. “I understand it’s a negotiation tactic. Put pressure on me. Turn the fans against me, turn the media on me. That part of it I didn’t like.”

Perhaps even more telling: Judge told TIME that his wife, Sam Bracksieck, recently reminded him of a bold prediction he made during his senior year at Linden High School in 2010.

“I said, in 10 years, I’ll be married to Sam and playing for the San Francisco Giants,” Judge said. “I was like, that’d better not get out.”