Aaron Judge enjoyed a treat in San Francisco this week.
The New York Yankees hitter paid a visit to the Giants before Thanksgiving as a free agent.
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NBC Sports Bay Area reports that the Giants enlisted the help of Steph Curry, a four-time NBA champion and two-time NBA MVP, from the Golden State Warriors.
As part of their pitch, the Giants put Judge in touch with Steph Curry’s camp in hopes the two superstars could bond while Judge weighs his decision, sources told NBC Sports Bay Area. … The judge arrived in town Monday and spent two days meeting with Giants officials, with talks beginning Monday night at Oracle Park, where the judge and his agent met with CEO Larry Baer, president of baseball operations Farhan Zaidi and dinner manager Gabe Kapler and other members of the organization. The Giants met with Judge most of the day Tuesday.
MLB Network’s Jon Morosi had more on the judge’s meeting with the Giants:
“Now I’ve been told it was a multi-meeting day. I’m told the meetings went all the way down to the ownership level between Aaron Judge and the San Francisco Giants, so a very significant development there. There have been many conversations for Aaron Judge with the Giants, of course back to his home state of California and the team he grew up with.
“Now we know that, and I don’t have all the details of everyone he spoke to, but given the thoughtfulness of the Giants and their long history and the number of icons they’ve had over time, it wouldn’t be.” so I’m wondering if the Giants really organized this to get back to Aaron’s emotions as a longtime fan of the franchise. And maybe even some of his favorite players as a kid who might have met him yesterday.
“So once again I was told that it was a very productive meeting. I don’t think at the moment, folks, that an offer has been made. But I expect that could happen within a week if Aaron Judge gets a formal offer from the Giants. And the general pace of things, we know where the Yankees are, we know they’ve had a conversation with him since the end of the season, Aaron has a pretty good understanding of where the Yankees are, what they’ve done with the previous offers and where things are right now.
“I believe once Aaron Judge knows where at least the original Giants offer is coming in, and I believe one is forthcoming, there’s going to be a pretty robust conversation about where we could see Aaron Judge at one within the next two weeks.” Team signs , until the end of the winter meeting. I think that’s about the point where we’re at here where this won’t be a February decision. I would expect that to be a December decision, and it could even happen before the end of the winter meetings in his home state of California.”
Also on Tuesday, two-time Giants All-Star outfielder Joc Pederson took to Instagram to woo Judge. According to the New York Post:
“I have 99 tasks … winning is not one. We’re ready if you’re @thejudge44,” Pederson wrote, referencing Judge’s jersey number and the famous Jay Z song “99 Problems.”
The post included a photoshopped image of Judge in a Giants uniform.
Pederson too wrote“We’ll be ready when you’re 99.”
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The Giants are the first team alongside the Yankees to sit down with Judge turning down a seven-year, $213.5 million contract before Opening Day and becoming a free agent after the World Series.
And that could be a problem for New York, since Judge grew up just hours from the Bay Area. The Giants have signaled they will be all-in on Judge, who set a new American League record with 62 home runs while fighting for the Triple Crown this season.
As first reported by Randy Miller of NJ Advance Media:
The Giants have their sights set on Judge and are willing to spend whatever it takes, a person with knowledge of the Giants’ mindset told NJ Advance Media after meeting with members of the franchise’s ownership group. Anonymity has been granted to the person not authorized to speak on behalf of the team.
“Judge is at the top of the Giants list and they don’t get undercut,” the person said. “If they miss something, it’s not because of the money.”
The person added that the Giants planned to further lure Judge by signing at least two high-priced free agents.
“The Giants are not going to stop with Judge,” the person said. “You have so much money free.”
Earlier this month, Farhan Zaidi, president of baseball operations for the Giants, said at GM meetings in Las Vegas that ownership had given him “no explicit cap” on how much he could spend this winter.
“I think from a financial point of view there is no one who would exceed our abilities,” said Zaidi. “And then it will just be a matter of whether there is a common interest and how we put together the best possible team.”
Yankees general manager Brian Cashman said last week that the Club Judge had made a new offer. “We’re in real time, so we’re on the clock,” Cashman said. “We certainly won’t be fooling around.”
Additionally, owner Hal Steinbrenner said he has already met with Judge in person.
“I’ve made it absolutely clear that I want him to remain a Yankee for the rest of his life,” Steinbrenner told reporters at last week’s owners’ meetings. “There’s no doubt about it. He knows it.”
MLB.com’s Mark Feinsand reported Monday that the Los Angeles Dodgers are “likely to be in on it,” for Judge. Adding fuel to the fire, the Dodgers didn’t write out former NL MVP Cody Bellinger last week.
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Mike Rosenstein can be reached at [email protected].