According to sources, the reigning American League MVP will meet the Giants on Tuesday, where he will sit down with a team that is expected to be one of the Yankees’ biggest competitors to sign the superstar.
Judge was seen in the San Francisco area on Monday, captured in a video released by MLB Network.
“Visiting some family and friends; Judge said in the video when asked what he was doing in San Francisco. After being pressed about whether he had “any fun plans” while in the Bay Area, Judge replied, “We’ve got something. I’ve got a good idea.”
The Giants are the first non-Yankees team to meet the judge this offseason, though the Dodgers are also expected to be in the mix. Judge grew up about 100 miles east of San Francisco in Linden, California, so a deal with the Giants would mark a kind of homecoming for the 30-year-old.
San Francisco has plenty of payroll flexibility in the offseason, something Farhan Zaidi, the president of baseball operations, discussed this month at general managers’ meetings, without specifically mentioning the judge or any other player.
“From a financial point of view, there is no one outside our ability to meet what we expect from the contract requirements,” Al-Zaidi said. “It will just be a matter of whether there is a common interest and how we put together the best possible team.”
Judge is believed to be seeking a minimum eight-year deal with an annual average of more than $40 million.
Yankees general manager Brian Cashman confirmed last week that the club had made a new offer for the star player, who had turned down a seven-year, $213.5 million extension offer before the season.
“We’re in real time, so we’re on the clock,” Cashman said. “We certainly won’t mess around.”
Yankees owner Hal Steinbrenner recently said he has spoken with Judge on multiple occasions since the end of the season, including at least one face-to-face meeting.
“I just conveyed that I wanted him to be a Yankee for the rest of his life,” Steinbrenner told reporters at the owners’ meetings last week. “No doubt about it. He knows that.”
Late last week, Judge described his conversation with Steinbrenner as “a great landmark for me in the process,” but that doesn’t mean he won’t explore all that free agency has to offer — including Tuesday’s meeting with the Giants.
“I don’t know how fast it’s going to go or how slow it’s going to go,” Judge said Thursday at the All Rise Foundation gala. “There are teams we’ve talked to. For me, if we’re going to build a winning team, if I can get [contract] Things out of the way so they can move on and add more pieces to build teams, I think that’s always an advantage anywhere I go.”