Randy Miller is out here getting Giants fans all worked up and addled.
To which I say: thank you, Randy Miller.
After last year’s desultory march to .500 — the 66-Player Army Marching to Mediocrity — it’s good to feel something at all.
Randy Miller, if you don’t know by now, is the Yankee beat writer for NJ.com who wrote the story this week that has the most advanced speculation that Aaron Judge, the behemoth slugger who just knocked more taters than any player in American League history (sorry Bambino, Teddy Ballgame, F Robby, Gorman Thomas and Jim Thome), wants to become a San Francisco Giant.
And vice versa.
Now, of course, this report comes with every caveat in the world.
Miller’s source was anonymous. There are other wealthy teams — hello, Yankees, Mets, Dodgers, Cubs — frothing to sign Judge. And ultimately, we’ve been down this road before, as I was just saying to my good pal Bryce Harper.
Thing is, Miller’s report seemed to make too much sense.
He quoted “a person with knowledge of the Giants’ thinking after meeting with the Giants’ ownership group.”
Man, I can’t believe Buster Posey is already leaking to the media.
Hey oh! Kidding! Kidding! Geez, relax.
Anyway, whoever this person is — Judge’s agent? Judge’s agent’s burner account? Judge’s agent’s neighbor? — there would seem to have already been back-channel discussions. In these discussions, one would guess, the Giants are prepared to tell Northern California’s own Aaron Judge that they love him forever — or for at least 7 to 10 years with something around $45 million a year, which is sorta like forever.
I’m guessing on the number. I don’t know. Currently, the biggest contract in baseball is Mike Trout’s 12-year, $426.5 million deal that runs through 2030. Mookie Betts signed a 12-year deal worth a total of $365 million. So, work with whatever number around those you see fit.
At any rate, Miller’s report contained hints of truth. It cited the source as acknowledging the pressure the Dodgers and Padres have put on the Giants. It cited the source as acknowledging the pressure the Giants’ friendly championship-collecting Mission Bay neighbors, Joe Lacob’s Warriors, are putting on the Giants in a race for consumer dollars.
On Miller’s end, he cited sources saying Judge and his camp weren’t pleased with how Yankee Stadium put the “conditional” in “unconditional love” by booing his 1-for-16 ALCS.
Moreover. Judge’s summer interview with John Shea of the SF Chronicle gave life to his childhood memories rooting for the Giants in Linden. Calif. (94 miles from Oracle Park), how he believes Barry Bonds is the home run king and “the greatest hitter of all time”, how his Dad’s favorite number was 35 so Rich Aurilia was his favorite Giant. Judge even said at the 2017 All-Star Game that his favorite moment at the Midsummer Classic was meeting a National League catcher who now doubles as a new Giants owner.
“”I was coming out of the bathroom and he was walking in the clubhouse and I just stopped and said, ‘Buster, huge fan man,'”” Judge said at the Miami 2017 All-Star Game.
In other words, all we’re doing is setting ourselves up for a massive disappointment, right? I mean, this is all too good to be true. As a pal in Ireland once told me over a pint, his Dublin accent making the words more impactful: “God doesn’t open one door for you . . . without slamming another one in your face first.”
Gotta love the Irish. Great pints, too.
What do we make of all this? It’s just noise, after all, and our morning buddy Mike Krukow threw some cold water on it all this morning saying it was just so much sizzle with very little steak.
But my gut tells me Randy Miller is on to something. I am fairly sure Larry Baer was not super fired up that the Giants just drew the lightest season attendance in Oracle Park history. That is not a small deal.
Farhan Zaidi’s biggest contract in four seasons at the helm is a 3-year, $36 million deal given to pitcher Anthony DeSclafani. To put it mildly: Bro. You’re due for a big one.
And I hear all of your counter-arguments. Judge will be 31. These decade-long contracts never work, as we were just saying to our good pal Albert Pujols. Judge will never hit 62 again.
Picky, picky, picky.
You guys see the Phillies owner all giddy and weepy telling Bryce Harper he thinks he “underpaid” Harper, after the NLCS clinching home run, a blast that will unite a generation?
Life is short. Let’s get excited.
If it doesn’t work out? Well, shoot, that’s another Jock Blog for another day.