The biggest name on the free-agent market this offseason is going to be Aaron Judge, coming off a season in which he set the American League record with 62 home runs and is likely to win the AL Most Valuable Player Award.
Judge and his Yankees had their season ended on Sunday when the Astros completed their ALCS sweep of New York, and while Judge batted just .139 with a .490 OPS and 15 strikeouts in 38 plate appearances this postseason, that’s unlikely to dampen the enthusiasm much for his free agency.
Over at MLB.com, Mark Feinsand writes about the five most likely landing spots for Judge, and the top three are obvious: go back to the Yankees, go home to the Giants, or let Mets owner Steve Cohen make a huge splash by bringing him across town. Fifth on Feinsand’s list is Boston, if for no other reason than that it would be great for the Yankees/Red Sox rivalry to have such a huge star switch sides.
Fourth on Feinsand’s list is the Dodgers, and his reasoning is pretty straightforward.
Like the Mets, the Dodgers have other areas of concern heading into the offseason; Trea Turner and Clayton Kershaw are among the top free agents on the roster, making shortstop and the starting rotation two of their main priorities.
That said, it’s silly to count out the Dodgers when it comes to any big-name free agent. Los Angeles could have more than $120 million coming off the books this winter, so depending on how they reallocate it, bringing in Judge to play next to Mookie Betts isn’t out of the realm of possibility.
“Not out of the realm of possibility” is about as accurate as you can be here. Never count out the Dodgers on any big free agent, but between the positional need (or lack thereof) and the likely length of the contract for the nearly 31-year-old who has played just three full, healthy seasons, Judge doesn’t seem like the kind of free agent Andrew Friedman and Brandon Gomes are likely to pursue with too much vigor. They’ll be involved, for sure, even if only to drive up the price for the Giants. But it seems like there would have to be some major shifts in the market for Judge to end up in Dodger blue.
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