The New York Yankees are undoubtedly hoping to retain star outfielder Aaron Judge, who will enter free agency this offseason. It appears that even opposing teams are hoping for the same thing.
Jon Heyman of the New York Post reported that not everyone around the league is interested in seeing Judge walk away from the Yankees.
"Even among some rivals, the hope is he stays 'for the good of the game,'" Heyman wrote. "The best, they say, should remain on the biggest stage."
Judge bet on himself when he turned down the Yankees' $213.5 million extension offer prior to this season. He backed up his gamble by putting together a historic season, as he is two home runs away from setting the American League record. Entering Thursday's game against the Boston Red Sox, Judge leads MLB with 60 home runs and 128 RBI, and he's tied for first in the AL with a .317 batting average.
Heyman noted that the Yankees "also know their number has to rise" to around $300 million to ensure Judge doesn't walk in free agency. During a recent podcast appearance, Yankees president Randy Levine told Heyman the franchise is planning to make an "extraordinarily competitive" offer.
The Yankees are considered the favorites to retain Judge this offseason, but that doesn't mean they won't have competition. The San Francisco Giants are thought to be the biggest threat to poach Judge because he grew up near the Bay Area. The Red Sox, New York Mets, Los Angeles Dodgers and Texas Rangers are all expected to pursue the 30-year-old slugger.
With Judge powering the lineup, the Yankees have been a top-two team in the AL for nearly the entire season. If he can lead New York to its first World Series since 2009, it will be imperative for the franchise to hold on to him if it wants to keep the fanbase happy.