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Dodgers: Could Aaron Judge Come to LA? Beat Writer Shares Why it Might and Might Not Happen

The Dodgers have plenty of money. Between their lucrative television deal, their league-leading attendance every year, and their merchandise sales to a nationwide fanbase, Los Angeles basically prints money and can afford any player they want to sign.

Why don’t they sign every free agent, then? Well, there are two main reasons. First, as the saying goes, it takes two to tango. Gerrit Cole wanted to go to the Yankees no matter what and used the Dodgers to drive up his price. Anthony Rendon wasn’t into the “Hollywood Lifestyle.” For any number of reasons, players might prefer to go somewhere other than the Dodgers.

The second reason is that there’s more than money involved in every free-agent deal. When Bryce Harper was a free agent, the Dodgers really wanted him, but not at the length of contract he was seeking. L.A. is very careful about tying up roster spots for the long-term, knowing that Father Time remains undefeated in his battle against ballplayers.

All of which brings us to Aaron Judge, who is heading into free agency at age 30 (he’ll be 31 shortly after the 2023 season starts) coming off a 62-homer season for the Yankees. The smart money is on a return to the Bronx, but if he does choose to trade his pinstripes for a new uniform, The Athletic compiled a list of six possible non-Yankee destinations for the slugger. Dodgers beat writer Fabian Ardaya wrote the section about Los Angeles.

It’s hard to rule the Dodgers out on anyone. They have the resources, and if Trea Turner departs in free agency, a hole in their lineup certainly could be filled by Judge blasting home runs all over Dodger Stadium. They could have an opening in center field if they elect to non-tender Cody Bellinger, meaning Judge or Mookie Betts could play there every day — and yes, Betts could see more time at second base if the Dodgers decide Gavin Lux is the replacement for Turner. But that in itself is a complicated and imperfect solution.

The Dodgers have other issues to address, and though they have made similar overtures over the years (Betts, Freddie Freeman, their pursuit of Gerrit Cole), they have typically tried to leverage their spending might over shorter-term deals than what Judge likely would be seeking.

A lot of estimates have Judge getting a contract with a length of somewhere between six and ten years. Judge, who has gotten to 500 plate appearances in just half of his seasons with the Yankees and is already on the wrong side of 30, doesn’t seem like the kind of player the Dodgers will go crazy on. If he’s interested in a high-dollar, shorter-term contract, they might be in play. Otherwise, Los Angeles will likely play the usual role of driving up the price for whoever ends up signing him.

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5 Comments

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  1. Trea Turner is far more worth the money than Judge!!! One of the problems with the Dodgers is too much HR philosophy!! It’s not the kind of baseball and philosophy you need in the postseason!! Judge had a phenomenal year, but regardless of where Trea Turner wants to go he is a 5 tool player. That hits for avg and contact, and steals bags a rarity in todays baseball!! We don’t need more HR hitters and or analytic style players. Also regardless of us being more competitive to go to a World Series than SF. Judge is from the Bay Area, and SF has not spent money in a player like Judge in a long time, and they have plenty of money to do so. Also we need to be worried about replacing Trea Turner if that’s not possible, and we need to be worried about starting pitching which has killed us in the postseason the last two years. Injuries luck or not it’s a glaring issue!!

  2. Do whatever it takes to sign him. He is the best player of this generation. Opportunities like this are a once in a lifetime. They cannot afford to let this go to waste.

  3. Turner carry’s way more value as player than Judge sorry to say!!!! We already have HR’s hitters on our team, and too much analytics!! Sacrificing strike outs for HR’s vs getting guys on base and scoring is moronic and is one of the reasons we loose in the postseason period!! How many guys in today’s baseball hit 300 and steal bags?? Huge rarity!! How many guys hit HR’s?? Most of the league does!! How many HR’s are hit in the postseason vs regular season. Other than pitching our biggest problem is too much analytics and HR hitting in the postseason vs situational hitting and small-ball Judge doesn’t fit the bill for that. Doing the same thing over and over in postseason with hitting and expecting different results is not the answer, and the answer is not more HR’s!!! It’s called balance.

  4. He has been in the big leagues full time 6 years he has hit 40 or more homers his first year and last year 17 and 22. Those are the only two years he hit over 100 RBI’s as well. Take out the shortened 2020 the other 3 years he has averaged 31 homers and 73 RBI’s. So who do you get for your mega contract? Since everyone wants to know who is a post season ‘dawg’ in 171 post season at bats 66 strikeouts avg 211, obp 310, slug 462, ops 772? The market is blowing a gasket over this year which he will never duplicate. I can’t believe the Dodgers are not dropping all of these rumors to run up the price to facilitate getting someone they really hope to get.

    • I still believe Judge will return to the Yankees, cause I can’t see them letting him walk without a fight to retain him. Giants are in play here too. Again, if Trea isn’t as anxious to return to the East Coast as had been reported, then along with pitching needs, he needs to be re- signed . I cannot see Lux as a permanent replacement at SS and no other real internal options exist at this time.

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