The Aaron Judge market is reportedly heating up.
Per Jon Morosi of MLB Network: "From what I can tell, piecing things together here, Aaron Judge's market is certainly above $300 million now, and potentially from two different teams, the Yankees and Giants. ... There are those in the industry who believe that he already has in hand that nine-year offer we've been talking about for a while, that his market is now over that line of $300 million-plus and nine years."
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"There are those in the industry who believe that he already has in hand that nine-year offer we've been talking about for a while." 👀<a href="https://twitter.com/jonmorosi?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@jonmorosi</a> has the latest news on Aaron Judge's market. <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/MLBNHotStove?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#MLBNHotStove</a> <a href="https://t.co/WcCqJT0gRI">pic.twitter.com/WcCqJT0gRI</a>
Morosi added that the wait for Judge's signature is likely, at least in part, to see the differences in the offers between the Yankees and Giants.
Although he did not provide any additional details, Yankees general manager Brian Cashman said Monday, per Mark Feinsand of MLB.com, that the team has made a "number of offers" to Judge this offseason.
"I do think for the Giants to get Judge, they're going to have to be the clear top bidder," Morosi added. "... Judge is going to have his choice, I believe, between two offers of $300 million-plus. And once you get to that neighborhood, the question really comes to what it is that you want to do."
If the offers are extremely similar, will Judge choose to remain with the team he's played for his entire career, or will he choose to depart for the team he grew up rooting for during his Northern California childhood?
It's the $300 million question, and the most intriguing decision of the MLB offseason.
His decision will have enormous ramifications for both franchises. Judge, 30, is the defending AL MVP after having a historically impactful season, hitting .311 with 62 homers, 131 RBI, 133 runs, 16 stolen bases and a mammoth 1.111 OPS. It was arguably the most impressive offensive season in the post-steroids era.
The four-time All-Star carried the Yankees offense for long stretches of the season, and with many of the top free agents on the market already off the board—Trea Turner to the Philadelphia Phillies, Justin Verlander to the New York Mets and Jacob deGrom to the Texas Rangers—the Yankees would struggle to replace Judge with the same level of splashy free agent they'd be losing.
While the Yankees have a number of intriguing shortstop prospects, ESPN's Buster Olney recently reported that they "would more seriously explore" the top veteran players at the position if Judge signed elsewhere, which now includes Carlos Correa, Xander Bogaerts and Dansby Swanson.
Giants pitcher Carlos Rodón could be another possibility.
For the Giants, Judge would be the elite slugger the team desperately needs. Joc Pederson led the team last season with 23 homers, while Wilmer Flores paced them with 71 RBI. San Francisco cobbled together a respectable offense but still went a disappointing 81-81 after winning 107 games the season prior.
Judge would be one of the biggest free-agent additions in franchise history. And he would give them the sort of firepower needed to keep pace with the Los Angeles Dodgers and San Diego Padres in the deep NL West.