There are few examples of an athlete betting on themselves entering a contract year and performing to the level that Aaron Judge did in 2022. It is always a tremendous risk for a player to reject a big money offer to gamble on their health and skills to secure a more lucrative deal the following season. Aaron Judge's belief came to fruition unlike any other athlete in this position.
Entering the 2022 season, the New York Yankees offered their star outfielder a 7-year, $213.5 million contract extension that Judge and his agent rejected. The deal would have made Judge the highest-paid position player in Yankee history, but he decided to bet on himself to secure a more expensive deal. After hitting 62 home runs, a .311 batting average, and 131 RBIs, it's safe to say it paid off.
"Yankees' Brian Cashman talks Aaron Judge contract negotiations: 'There's a pot of gold there'" - Fox News
As soon as the playoffs end, the entire MLB universe will look at Aaron Judge and speculate where he will land. While the favorites to sign Judge are the Yankees, the San Francisco Giants, New York Mets, Los Angeles Dodgers, and Boston Red Sox are poised as potential suitors for the AL home run king.
Will the Yankees re-sign Aaron Judge?
According to bookies.com, the Yankees hold the best odds of re-signing their star to a massive extension. The site currently has an implied probability of 36.4% of signing Judge to an extension.
It would make the most sense for Judge to stay put in New York as he is familiar with the organization, city, and fans. Yankee Stadium is also a notoriously home-run happy ballpark, which will help his stats over time. Lastly, the Yankees are a huge market, making Judge one of, if not the, face of baseball.
However, he may want to look elsewhere, especially if the Yankees fail to win the World Series. Though New York won 99 wins in the regular season, there is a massive amount of pressure playing in a city that expects consistent greatness.
"Yankees fans booing Aaron Judge after all he did this season is really patehtic." - MLB Metrics
Will Judge go home?
While the Yankees might be the current betting favorites, the San Francisco Giants are not far behind. At 25%, the Giants may be able to convince Judge to return to the Bay Area.
What works in the Giants' favor is the fact that Judge was born and raised in Linden, Calif., and was a Giants fan growing up. The allure of playing for his childhood team, as well as playing for a team that has not only been successful in the last 15 years, but has also shown a willingness to make moves to continue to contend for titles.
"Me telling my son about Aaron Judge, the Yankee, in five years when Aaron Judge is on the fifth year of his San Francisco Giants deal" - A$AP Yankee Constanza
Will the AL home run king make the switch to the NL?
The other top contenders
It is impossible to rule out some of the big spending teams such as the Los Angeles Dodgers and New York Mets, who were underwhelming in the postseason and will be looking to upgrade their current strong rosters.
The Chicago Cubs and Boston Red Sox have also been mentioned as top teams able to sign Judge, however, with both teams missing the playoffs, Judge may rule them out as he attempts to win his first World Series title.