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Aaron Judge free agency buzz: Slugger could be nearing decision on where to sign

Here is the latest buzz surrounding Yankees star Aaron Judge’s free agency…

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Sep 30, 2022; Bronx, New York, USA; New York Yankees right fielder Aaron Judge (99) reacts as he runs in from the outfield during the fifth inning against the Baltimore Orioles at Yankee Stadium.

Sep 30, 2022; Bronx, New York, USA; New York Yankees right fielder Aaron Judge (99) reacts as he runs in from the outfield during the fifth inning against the Baltimore Orioles at Yankee Stadium. / Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

Here is the latest buzz surrounding Yankees star Aaron Judge‘s free agency…

Nov. 29, 7:20 p.m.

Aaron Judge may be getting close to making a decision in free agency, according to SNY MLB Insider Andy Martino.

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Martino said on Tuesday’s Baseball Night in New York that he is “hearing from people who are involved in this process” that the situation feels like it is moving closer to a conclusion.

There are only a few teams who can and are willing to pay the kind of money Judge demands on the open market, and Martino said he is “getting the vibe” that this could be nearing a conclusion by next week.

“Let’s just say I wouldn’t be stunned if he signed at the Winter Meetings,” Martino said. “I just think we’re getting a little bit closer and it’s not gonna be one of those things that stretches deep past the holidays like we see with some of these huge free agent deals. I think we’re getting there.”

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This year’s Winter Meetings in San Diego run from Dec. 4 – 7.

Nov. 23, 2:49 p.m.

Judge met with the Giants on Nov. 22 in San Francisco, during what was a day of “multiple meetings that went all the way up to the ownership level,” reports Jon Morosi of MLB Network.

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Morosi said it’s his belief that a formal offer from the Giants could be made within a week, and that Judge could choose which team he’s signing with within the next two weeks — before the end of the Winter Meetings, which run from Dec. 4 to 7.

SNY’s Andy Martino reported earlier this week that this did not appear to be an offseason where the biggest stars would wait long to sign.

Nov. 21, 9:07 p.m.

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Judge has arrived in San Francisco and is expected to meet with the Giants sometime this week, according to Jon Morosi of MLB Network.

The Giants have widely been considered as one of the Yankees’ top competitors for the 2022 AL MVP this offseason. Judge, of course, was born in Sacramento, California and grew up a Giants fan.

The Dodgers are also expected to make a strong attempt to land Judge this offseason.

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Nov. 19, 3:40 p.m.

Aaron Judge took to Instagram on Saturday afternoon to reflect on his first MVP Award and posted a highlight video of his record-setting season. The slugger thanked everyone from his family and friends to Yankees fans and the city of New York.

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“What a crazy week it’s been! This is a remarkable honor that could not have been possible without my family and friends who pushed me day in and day out,” Judge wrote in the caption. “God has blessed me with so many great teammates and opportunities over the years that I will never take for granted!

“Thank you to the fans and the city of New York- it has been a privilege to earn this award in pinstripes.”

Nov. 18, 8:00 p.m.

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With the Dodgers non-tendering former NL MVP, Cody Bellinger on Friday, it looks as if Los Angeles are poised to attempt to land Aaron Judge this offseason.

According to multiple reports, the Dodgers could make a run for Judge after shedding roughly $100 million off the payroll. Aside from Bellinger, Craig Kimbrel, Tyler Anderson, Andrew Heaney, David Price, Justin Turner, and Trea Turner are now off the roster.

Judge could provide the outfield depth the team is lacking after the non-tender to Bellinger.

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While it’s not out of the question the Dodgers try and re-sign Bellinger, who would have been owed $18-$19 million in arbitration in 2023, Los Angeles would look to bring him back for less, per Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic.

Judge confirmed shortly after winning the 2022 AL MVP that he’s already spoken to teams this offseason and Yankees GM Brian Cashman also confirmed that the team has given their offer to the slugger.

Being from California, the Dodgers could be close enough to home for Judge to sign. But the San Francisco Giants are widely considered the Yankees’ top rival this offseason for the slugger this offseason.

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Nov. 17, 11:25 p.m.

Aaron Judge confirmed Thursday that he has spoken to other teams since he entered free agency.

“There’s teams that we’ve talked to,” Judge told Bryan Hoch of MLB.com. “For me, if we’re going to build a winning team, if I can get my [contract] out of the way so they can move on and add some more pieces to build teams up, I think that’s always an advantage for wherever I go.”

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Earlier in the day, Yankees GM Brian Cashman also confirmed that the team officially made an offer to Judge this offseason. But now it’s the waiting game for the Yankees as they anticipate Judge and his camp to speak with the 29 other MLB teams.

Nov. 11, 6:50 p.m.

Yankees owner Hal Steinbrenner sat down with YES Network’s Meredith Marakovits and talked about Aaron Judge‘s free agency.

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Steinbrenner revealed that he had more than one conversation with Judge since the 2022 season ended and described them as positive. When he was asked how confident he was Judge would be back in pinstripes, Steinbrenner was coy with his answer.

“I made it clear to him that it is our wish,” Steinbrenner said. “He means a lot to this organization and I made it clear to him that we’re going to do everything we can to make it happen.”

Nov. 9, 7:05 p.m.

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Yankees general manager Brian Cashman told Joel Sherman of the New York Post that he has been in touch with Aaron Judge‘s reps while at the GM Meetings. While he wouldn’t say if the team made an official contract offer, he did say that the slugger’s camp has made no promise that the Yankees will be given a last chance to match or beat the best offer they receive in the offseason.

Cashman did confirm that the team will be giving Judge the qualifying offer by Thursday’s deadline, per Sherman.

Nov. 9, 6:35 p.m.

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Many front office execs are gathered together in Las Vegas for the GM Meetings this week, and San Francisco Giants president Farhan Zaidi assured fans that they are ready to spend this offseason.

According to MLB Network’s Jon Morosi, Zaidi declined to comment on Aaron Judge specifically but did say that no free agent would be “out of our capability” from a financial standpoint this offseason.

Judge is from the Bay Area and Mark Feinsand of MLB.com reported in October that the Giants have been viewed as the “most likely threat” to the Yankees in the battle for the slugger.

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Joel Sherman of the New York Post confirmed that Yankees GM Brian Cashman will give the qualifying offer to Judge, but the team has until Thursday’s deadline to do so.

Nov. 8, 6:45 p.m.

Yankees GM Brian Cashman spoke to the media Tuesday at the GM Meetings in Las Vegas and was asked about whether he has spoken with Aaron Judge‘s camp about a new contract.

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Cashman had no comment but said that they are “early” in the process.

“Optimally if we could wave a magic wand, we would secure Aaron Judge and retain him and have him sign and happy in the fold as soon as possible,” Cashman said. “He’s a free agent, he’s earned the right to be a free agent, so he’ll dictate the dance steps.”

When asked how much of a priority re-signing Judge was to the team’s offseason, Cashman remained coy saying that they are going to start the process of reaching out to teams about possible trades, and to agents about free agents, which will dictate how the Yankees react in the market, including “retaining our superstar.”

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Cashman said he does not expect to meet with Judge’s agent, Page Odle, at the GM Meetings in Las Vegas because he hasn’t been told whether Odle will be there.

The Yankees have exclusive rights to negotiate with Judge until Thursday evening to come up with a new contract. If not, Judge can then be free to speak with other teams.

Oct. 25, 11:57 a.m.

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The Los Angeles Dodgers “could become serious players” for Judge, reports Mark Feinsand of MLB.com, who says the Dodgers signing Judge could result in outfielder Mookie Betts moving to second base.

Per Feinsand, the San Francisco Giants have been viewed as the “most likely threat” to the Yankees in the battle for Judge, who is a California native.

The Dodgers could have a significant amount of money coming off their payroll this offseason, which could conceivably put them in strong position to make a push for Judge.

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One pending Dodgers free agent who could be playing elsewhere in 2023 is infielder Trea Turner, who reportedly prefers to return to the East Coast. Turner made $21 million this season.

Craig Kimbrel, who made $16 million this season, is also a pending free agent.

Oct. 24, 2:33 a.m.

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After the Yankees were swept by the Houston Astros in the ALCS, Judge was asked if he wanted to remain a Yankee.

“I’ve been clear about that since I first wore the pinstripes,” Judge told reporters. “But we couldn’t get something done before spring training and now I’m a free agent and we’ll see what happens.”

Judge added:

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“Getting a chance to wear the pinstripes and play right field at Yankee Stadium, it’s an incredible honor. I never took it for granted at any point. I always checked myself pregame, say a little prayer and kinda look around the Stadium and pinch myself.

“There are very few individuals who get a chance to run out on that field and do that and play in front of fans who supported us my whole six years. It was a special time and I just kick myself for not bringing home a championship for them.”

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