Aaron Judge was close to returning to his home in the Bay Area when the San Francisco Giants offered him a reported nine-year, $360 million deal this offseason. He ultimately didn’t take it as he remained with the New York Yankees whose offer matched those numbers.
The Giants open up their season at Yankee Stadium which will bring a reunion of some sort, but for front office members and Judge. It doesn’t appear to be an awkward situation, however.
“I think it’s going to be fun,” Giants president of baseball operations told The San Francisco Chronicle’s Susan Slusser. “We tried to sign him, but he’s the opposition now.”
Zaidi said there’s actually a silver lining behind it all.
“I think if anything, it provides a little extra motivation for us,” he added.
I asked Farhan Zaidi about the Giants opening at Yankee Stadium and immediate seeing Aaron Judge to start the season, and he said, "I think it's going to be fun. We tried to sign him, but he's the opposition now. I think if anything, it provides a little extra motivation for us."
— Susan Slusser (@susanslusser) March 24, 2023
It’ll be an away game, of course, but even if boos from the fans occurred, it’s nothing Judge couldn’t handle.
If the deal would have gone through with Judge, it would have been one of the biggest in the franchise’s history. Seven-time All-Star and 12-year veteran catcher Buster Posey had an eight-year, $159 million extension of his own in March of 2013. Barely scratched the surface of the Judge’s offer.
Giants Opening Day starter Logan Webb was bummed the team didn’t land Judge.
“I personally thought we had a pretty good shot, but that’s how things go,” Webb told MLB.com in February. “I think we had an outside chance to start with. I get that … But there were some times during the offseason where I really did think we were going to get him. It was tough, for sure. I think all of us in that meeting were butthurt a little bit because we all thought we did a pretty good job.”
The Linden, Calif. native was of high interest to multiple clubs who were willing to pay top dollar for the reigning American League MVP.
Judge finished his 2022 campaign with an MLB-best 62 home runs, 131 RBI, and a 211 OPS+. He also earned his fourth All-Star selection.