Aaron Judge free agency: The Dodgers' case to sign away the Yankees slugger

Aaron Judge, the American League’s Most Valuable Player Award recipient and CBS Sports’ leading readily available totally free representative, stays on the free market simply days ahead of the start of the winter season conferences, which open on Sunday, Dec. 4. Although Judge would still appear more than likely to go back to the New York Yankees when all is stated and done, other groups are barely dealing with that result as a fait accompli. As such, CBS Sports is making the case for numerous groups to sign Judge throughout today, like with the Giants here. Below, you’ll discover our argument for the Los Angeles Dodgers.

The lineup

One of the staples of Andrew Friedman’s management design is that he likes developing flexible lineups geared up with moving parts. That method, the Dodgers have alternatives if and when they suffer an injury or an underperformance. To a degree, Judge would suit. While he’s generally a best fielder, he invested the majority of last season playing center, displaying his above-average athleticism (particularly relative to his size).

The Dodgers just recently non-tendered their incumbent center fielder, previous MVP Cody Bellinger, developing an opening that Judge might move into. Conversely, the Dodgers might attempt playing Mookie Betts (or somebody else totally) in center, permitting Judge to take a corner-outfield position as his own. 

It’s difficult to clock what the Dodgers beginning 9 might appear like due to the fact that of their adaptability, and due to the fact that they have some other pushing concerns to resolve this offseason — like, who plays shortstop, and what about 3rd base? Predictably, the Dodgers have actually been connected to the leading free-agent shortstops, consisting of Carlos Correa, and have actually even been reported to have interest in Willy Adames of the Milwaukee Brewers, who was obtained by the Rays in 2014 when they were still under Friedman’s reign. It appears like a matter of “who” not “if” they’ll include from the outdoors there.

Anyway, here’s our conservative price quote of what the lineup would appear like with Judge in tow. Keep in mind, a reasonable quantity of this goes through alter over the coming weeks to months:

  1. Mookie Betts, RF
  2. Freddie Freeman, 1B
  3. Aaron Judge, CF
  4. Max Muncy, DH
  5. Will Smith, C
  6. Gavin Lux, SS
  7. Chris Taylor, 2B
  8. Miguel Vargas, 3B
  9. Trayce Thompson, LF

However the winter season exercises for the Dodgers, it’s clear they’re as soon as again going to have an excellent lineup — and possibly an excellent one, ought to they land Judge along with another leading star.

The cash

The Dodgers are among the couple of groups who have actually revealed a desire to distribute the sort of agreements needed to patronize the top of the marketplace on a constant basis. They definitely have the monetary versatility to do so this offseason, too, after permitting Trea Turner to go into totally free firm without an extension and decreasing Justin Turner’s choice.

Indeed, the Dodgers’ existing Opening Day payroll forecast is around $140 million, according to Cot’s Contracts. For referral, their Opening Day payroll figures the previous 2 seasons have actually been $280 million and $247 million, recommending the Dodgers have the ways to high end by a minimum of $100 million upon their existing base.

The Dodgers do have other elements to resolve, as we hinted above, however they’re the uncommon group who can offer Judge a huge agreement while maintaining considerable wiggle space this offseason. That sets them approximately be a critical part of this winter season’s story.

The chance

By “opportunity” we imply 2 things. One, it’s not every winter season that a gamer of Judge’s standing ends up being a complimentary representative. That’s apparent enough. Two, baseball is eventually a zero-sum video game. If the Dodgers indication Judge, that indicates other groups cannot, consisting of the San Francisco Giants, among L.A.’s National League West opponents.

The Giants have actually been among the other groups most frequently connected to Judge going back to the summertime. One finalizing isn’t going to close the space in between the Dodgers and the Giants, mind you, however it would assist San Francisco both on and off the field. You ought to never ever make a relocation even if your competitor is thinking about doing the very same, however let’s admit it: eliminating a star gamer from a competitor’s clutches is quite sweet.

The tradition

These Dodgers have actually been a component in the playoffs because 2013, making each of the last 10 postseasons. During that run, they have actually appeared in a minimum of the League Championship Series 6 times, and have actually played in the World Series 3 times. Alas, they have actually won just one of those Fall Classics, with that success coming versus the Tampa Bay Rays at a neutral website throughout the pandemic-altered 2020 postseason. 

It’s reasonable to compose that this Dodgers company is among the very best operations we have actually ever seen in expert sports. They’ve showed their savvy for gamer examination and their ability with gamer advancement time and once again. Yet contemporary American sports groups are typically evaluated for their champion yield, and in that regard, the Dodgers are and will continue to be discovered doing not have.

If you ask us, it’s an out-of-date design of thinking — consistent playoff growth has actually made it harder than ever to win a World Series ring — however the Dodgers have actually dominated every other element of being an all-time dominant group. What they require now to finish the puzzle is at least another World Series success. 

Signing a gamer of Judge’s quality would, in our evaluation, be the most convenient and most apparent method to relocate that instructions. 

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