A’s bank on Aaron Judge to justify move, Boras builds market for Juan Soto

Yankees superstars Aaron Judge and Juan Soto

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Aaron Judge and Juan Soto remain true Yankees. However, their appeals go beyond the conventional one-team baseball geography. The Oakland A’s owner in a surprising move fell back on Aaron Judge’s popularity to defend his choice of Sacramento’s Sutter Health Park as his team’s new home. Simultaneously, Juan Soto’s agent Scott Boras has highlighted the demand for his client from San Diego to whip up the potential free-agency market for him.

A’s use Aaron Judge’s name to bring attention to new home

The Oakland A’s have stirred up the baseball landscape once again with the announcement that they’ll be playing their home games from 2025 to 2027 at Sutter Health Park, a Triple-A ballpark in Sacramento, California. This temporary relocation comes as the team awaits the construction of a new stadium in Las Vegas, a move that was approved by MLB owners last November.

In an interview with ABC 10, A’s owner John Fisher expressed his excitement about the “intimate setting” of Sutter Health Park, claiming it to be the “most intimate in all of Major League Baseball.” He then went on to mention his anticipation of seeing home runs launched by both opposing players, including the New York Yankees‘ Aaron Judge, and A’s batters.

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AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli

“We explored several locations for a temporary home, including the Oakland Coliseum,” he said. “Even with the long-standing relationship and good intentions on all sides in the negotiations with Oakland, the conditions to achieve an agreement seemed out of reach. We understand the disappointment this news brings to our fans, as this season marks our final one in Oakland. Throughout this season, we will honor and celebrate our time in Oakland, and will share additional details soon.”

The relocation to Sacramento is part of a larger plan for the A’s. Since April of last year, the team has been vocal about their desire to move to Las Vegas, a decision ultimately approved by MLB ownership in November. Fisher acknowledged the challenges in securing a temporary home within Oakland, citing difficulties in reaching an agreement with the Oakland Coliseum.

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X-@JimmyRandazzo

Boras drums up market for Juan Soto’s free agency

The Yankees’ electrifying start has been supercharged by new superstar Juan Soto‘s arrival. However, his agent Boras has been using the Soto-fied baseball world to create a market demand that can secure Juan Soto a record deal. In his latest maneuver, he threw a news that can pile up pressure on the Yankees seeking to extend the slugger.

According to him, the late Padres owner Peter Seidler personally reached out to initiate negotiations on a potential megadeal extension for the young slugger. Before Seidler’s health tragically declined, those exploratory talks progressed quite positively behind the scenes. Sadly, the win-at-all-costs Seidler passed away on November 14th at just 63 years old, his dream of a World Series title in San Diego unfulfilled. There’s a narrative that Juan Soto’s tenure with the Padres was a disappointment after their 82-80 underachievement in 2023.

“The owner loved Juan Soto. He was sixth in MVP, a Silver Slugger, an All-Star,” Boras told The Post. “Peter called about wanting to pursue him, and there were discussions about wanting to keep him. And unfortunately, it did not work out because of his health.”

While some may be mildly surprised that Seidler was willing to foot the enormous cost of extending Juan Soto, it actually fit his relentless championship pursuit. Though the Padres were likely operating in the red due to Seidler’s free-spending ways uncommon for a mid-market club, profit margins were frankly an afterthought. His sole obsession was fielding a World Series winner, costs be damned.

Juan Soto during the game between the New York Yankees vs. Houston Astros, on march 31, 2024.
Yankees

According to Boras, despite rumblings Juan Soto prefers the East Coast to be closer to his family, the young star “really liked the owner” in San Diego and wasn’t unhappy at all as a Padre. Though the negotiations were kept tightly under wraps at the time, even from many in the organization, sources close to the situation believe a Juan Soto mega-extension would have materialized had the determined Seidler lived.

Not only was the owner fully invested in retaining Juan Soto long-term, but so too was GM A.J. Preller, who Boras said expressed sadness at having to trade him to the Yankees. Preller and Seidler operated in lockstep, with the owner giving his lead baseball mind a blank checkbook to realize his vision – no matter how exorbitant the price tag. The Padres’ stunning $280 million commitment to Xander Bogaerts despite already having an elite shortstop exemplified Seidler’s willingness to spend with blinders on.

Within the organization, Seidler was viewed as a smaller-market embodiment of Steve Cohen’s willingness to finance a juggernaut at all costs. While Juan Soto’s Padres tenure was undoubtedly a mixed bag due to the team’s disappointing results, his time so far in New York has been an unqualified boon. Teammates have embraced the affable superstar, with some even appearing to model his famous plate discipline and patience.

The Yankees are benefitting from Juan Soto entering his prime, as his defense has been a pleasant surprise after an extensive offseason working with outfield instructor Jackie Bradley Jr. He is also seamlessly accepted batting second in Aaron Boone’s lineup. All signs point to San Diego’s loss truly becoming the Bronx’s long-term gain.

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