With all eyes on the Bronx tonight as the Yankees and Guardians play a winner-take-all Game 5 to determine who advances to the ALCS to take on the powerhouse Astros, let’s talk about the report that came out over the weekend from Jon Heyman that, to a degree, connected the Cubs to Aaron Judge
"The Yankees envision the main competition coming from the Giants and maybe the Cubs and Dodgers (though LA is known to prefer shorter deals at higher AAVs; Bryce Harper didn’t go for that when they tried $160 million for four). But of course, you never know in free agency."
It’s interesting that the Yankees view the Cubs as somewhat of a challenger for Judge’s services in free agency because, for the life of me, I don’t see Jed Hoyer coming anywhere close to shelling out $300-400 million on a 30-year-old slugger who’s 6-7 and has a pretty lengthy injury history.
Chicago doesn’t seem too concerned about high AAV deals, but if you’re talking about something that goes into his late 30s or, god forbid, early 40s, I just can’t envision any sort of scenario where Hoyer is even remotely tempted to pull the trigger on an offer.
Cubs, Aaron Judge aren’t a fit – no matter how you approach it
That’s not to say the Cubs don’t need major offensive upgrades, because they do. But this is a perfect example of Hoyer’s oft-repeated line about ‘intelligent spending’. Giving Judge a 10-year deal in the $350 million range just isn’t smart.
Judge has played more than 125 games in just half of his six years (excluding 2020 here for obvious reasons) in the big leagues. This year was, far and away, the most impressive season of his career (not to mention, in baseball history). He bet on himself this spring, turning down the Yankees’ seven-year, $213 million extension offer.
To say that gamble will pay off is an understatement, as he could easily tack another $100 million onto that total before it’s all said and done. But it shouldn’t come from the Cubs, a team that just had to eat the last year of a bloated contract in Jason Heyward in hopes of getting younger.
Go out and add that star shortstop, bring in Jose Abreu to split time with Matt Mervis at first base/DH, grab a few starting pitchers and let’s ride. There were plenty of positives to build off, especially in the second half, but throwing a mega-deal at Judge isn’t a smart move for Chicago, no matter how you’d like to look at it.