Listen Live Now:

Aaron Judge turned down overwhelming Padres offer to return to New York [report]

© Nathan Ray Seebeck | 2023 Mar 6

Aaron Judge, the Giants’ Face Of The Franchise That Wasn’t, nearly took his talents to a different California city this offseason.

New details have emerged, from The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal, about just how serious the San Diego Padres were in pursuing Judge. It has been reported that San Diego jumped into the Judge sweepstakes late and even held a meeting with him, but just how close they were to swaying the single-season American League home run champion was previously unclear.

Rosenthal reported that San Diego met with Judge and made him an offer worth “in the range” of $415 million over at least 12 years. At the time the Padres offered it to Judge, the Yankees were willing to commit $100 million less than that.

“They made a significant offer that kind of blew everybody else out of the water,” Judge told The Athletic

The 2022 American League Most Valuable Player had already met with the Giants, who had reportedly offered him a contract worth around $360 million over nine years.

Wrote Rosenthal: “One Giants person said he was cautiously optimistic about his team’s chances, emphasizing the word cautiously. A number of officials with the Giants and Padres, however, remained skeptical Judge would change teams.”

If the Yankees decided not to move off their previous offer, Judge likely would have been deciding between San Francisco and San Diego.

But in the end, Judge’s loyalty to the Yankees organization, and owner Hal Steinbrenner, won out. He committed to re-sign with New York, who agreed to match the Giants’ offer, shortly after his meeting with the Padres.

Judge took less money to do so.

The Giants also infamously didn’t complete their agreed-upon deal with free agent shortstop Carlos Correa. The team had concerns with the two-time All-Star’s surgically repaired ankle during the medical process — as did the New York Mets eventually — causing the signing to fall through. Correa landed back with Minnesota, and the Giants’ offseason culminated without a signature deal.

Instead, San Francisco re-signed Joc Pederson on the qualifying offer and brought in a collection of veterans in Michael Conforto, Mitch Haniger, Taylor Rogers, Ross Stripling and Sean Manaea.

“There’s a lot of enthusiasm for the group we have and what we can do, and (we) understand there’s going to be some skepticism because we had a couple of pursuits fall short,” Giants president of baseball operations Farhan Zaidi said in January. “But we also did a lot of work, and we think we got better. So we’re excited to be able to start seeing the fruits of that once games begin.”


Get KNBR in your inbox

Subscribe today to bring The Sports Leader to your email inbox weekly.