Show Aaron Judge the money.
That mix of potential suitors will almost certainly include some of those non-playoff clubs who have acted more boldly in recent years, but there is one more variable: Mets owner Steve Cohen. He came up in every conversation I had with execs about Judge — partly because the Mets could stand to upgrade their outfield, but mostly because he becomes the Kool-Aid Man when a cost control is put in front of him. There’s also undeniable star power and King of New York vibes in play — a winter in which the Mets re-sign deGrom and land the Yankees’ best player would surely make him happier than a string of buzzy art purchases.
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But the Mets won’t be the only club chasing Judge, according to McDaniel.
The Rangers, Tigers, White Sox and Marlins (aka Yankees South, who could use a splashy big-money deal on a number of fronts) all make sense as potential motivated bidders in the right scenario. There’s another half-dozen clubs (to my eye: Blue Jays, Astros, Padres, Giants, Nationals, Twins) that could find themselves kicking the tires if things fall the right way.
So what does McDaniel think it will take to get Judge to sign on the dotted line?
If he has a career year in 2022, I think he’ll beat $250 million with his sights set on $300 million. … The length of the Yankees’ offer was the part that surprised me, and it suggests that with open market bidding and Judge’s potential career year in 2022, an eight-year offer could be in play. A $35 million AAV (the Yankees’ offer was a $30.5 million AAV) on an eight-year term gets you to $280 million total. If a couple teams have interest at that level, a nice round $300 million feels like the potential winning bid. Yes, that landing comes at the end of a string of ifs, but it isn’t that far-fetched of a scenario given where we stand right now.
“The Yankees are willing to go higher,” Heyman said on his new podcast “The Show” with Joel Sherman of the New York Post. “They were willing to go higher when they cut off negotiations. Time kind of ran out because they set Opening Day as the deadline … I think they would have gone to $31 million-$32 million.”
The Yankees were thinking more along the lines of $30.5-million a year, though a person with knowledge of the talks told NJ Advance Media that owner Hal Steinbrenner might have been able to be convinced to up it a million or two more per year. The person spoke on the condition of anonymity because he wasn’t authorized to speak publicly.
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Mike Rosenstein may be reached at email@example.com.