MLB Rumors: Free-Agent Market Could Move Quickly After Aaron Judge's Decision

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured Columnist IVNovember 30, 2022

NEW YORK, NEW YORK - SEPTEMBER 24:  Aaron Judge #99 of the New York Yankees steps up to the plate in the first inning against the Boston Red Sox at Yankee Stadium on September 24, 2022 in the Bronx borough of New York City. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
Elsa/Getty Images

As is often the case during the offseason, some MLB teams might be in a holding pattern until the biggest fish in free agency gets reeled in.

ESPN's Jeff Passan reported Wednesday that "the high-end market could move, perhaps quickly" once Aaron Judge agrees to a contract.

According to Passan, the New York Yankees are prepared to offer around $300 million over eight years and might go higher depending on any competing bids.

Because of his asking price, Judge has a limited pool of suitors. In addition to the Yankees, the San Francisco Giants have met with the American League MVP. The Los Angeles Dodgers could make a run, too.

Even assuming those are the only three teams that are looking to sign the native of Sacramento, California, his decision will carry big implications.

The Giants could set their sights on one of the next best outfielders. Brandon Nimmo, Mitch Haniger and Andrew Benintendi are all available, while Cody Bellinger and Michael Conforto are both intriguing free agents.

Passan speculated the Yankees could take the money they earmarked for Judge and put it toward one of the top-end shortstops on the market, with Trea Turner, Carlos Correa, Xander Bogaerts and Dansby Swanson all likely to get nine-figure offers.

San Francisco could adopt the same approach if it wants to flex its financial muscle after missing out on Judge.

Wherever the 30-year-old winds up, some of the free agents might be waiting to see the final terms of his new contract.

Eight years and $300 million would give the four-time All-Star an annual salary of $37.5 million, eclipsing Mike Trout's $35.5 million average salary and setting a record for a position player.

You wouldn't expect another player to get a bigger contract than Judge, but a record-setting pact could help shape what the likes of Turner, Correa, Bogaerts, Swanson, Jacob deGrom, Carlos Rodón and Justin Verlander demand.