Yankees outfielder Aaron Judge is expected to be one of the top free agents on the market this offseason, coming off a 62-homer season in which he came close to winning the American League Triple Crown. The Mets are the highest-spending team in baseball and have a hole or two in their outfield.
You might think Judge and the Mets are a match made in heaven, but there’s one other factor to consider: the relationship between Mets owner Steve Cohen and Yankees owner Hal Steinbrenner.
According to MLB insider Andy Martino of SNY, that relationship will play a huge role in potential Judge negotiations.
It was a reasonable topic to wonder about [on Opening Day, when Judge turned down a Yankees extension offer], and remains so today. But the truth of the situation also remains unchanged: On that day, Mets sources said that they did not plan to fight the Yankees this offseason for Judge. With free agency set to begin next week, that has not changed.
Talking to Mets people about this all through the year, the team in Queens sees Judge as a Yankee, uniquely tailored to be an icon in their uniform, stadium and branding efforts. Owners Steve Cohen and Hal Steinbrenner enjoy a mutually respectful relationship, and do not expect to upend that with a high-profile bidding war.
The only way people involved can see the Mets changing course and pursuing Judge would be if the Yankees somehow declared themselves totally out of the bidding.
"Owners Steve Cohen and Hal Steinbrenner enjoy a mutually respectful relationship, and do not expect to upend that with a high-profile bidding war." @martinonyc https://t.co/7aSnm0KVzU pic.twitter.com/Q4Ptn2CF4L
— SNY Mets (@SNY_Mets) November 3, 2022
This could be a big deal for other rich teams thinking about going after Judge (such as the Dodgers or the Giants). With the richest team seemingly out of the bidding, it could drastically alter Judge’s market.
Of course, when push comes to shove, Cohen might decide his team is more important than his relationship with Steinbrenner. But for now, one of the biggest Judge suitors might be on the sidelines.
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