Aaron Judge rumors: 5 free agency destinations to make the Yankees pay

MLB, New York Yankees

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Aaron Judge

Aaron Judge, New York Yankees. Mandatory Credit: Dan Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports

Aaron Judge is no lock to return to the Yankees in 2023.

2022 has been a historic season for both Aaron Judge and the New York Yankees, to say the least. You could even say the Yankees are this good because of Aaron Judge, though they’ve also been greatly aided by top-line starting pitching and relievers.

Either way, Aaron Judge is headed for a massive payday this winter, and it’s no guarantee that the Yankees will be the team to award him it. The two sides took a step closer to a possible financial agreement by coming to terms on Judge’s 2022 salary of $19 million, avoiding the dreaded arbitration process while building up some goodwill.

But if New York doesn’t up the seven-year, $213.5 million offer that they extended to the presumptive AL MVP favorite before this season, here are five teams that could after the season.

5 free agency destinations for Aaron Judge: San Francisco Giants

Judge hails from the Bay Area and his hometown San Francisco Giants are expected to have payroll flexibility this winter, with a need for a big bat in the middle of their lineup.

The Giants are a contender in the National League coming off a 107-win 2021 season, but their 2022 hasn’t been going quite as well as they expected despite adding Alex Cobb, Carlos Rodon and Joc Pederson last offseason. The pitching has been there for them, but their offense lags behind. If anyone’s capable of changing that on their own, Judge is that guy.

Don’t be surprised if San Francisco goes after Aaron Judge after the season, leveraging their payroll and hometown appeal as well as recent success to lure the big bopper back to the Bay Area.

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