Padres ready to bid for Aaron Judge, Benintendi

Aaron Judge and Benintendi celebrating at Yankee Stadium

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There comes rare moments in MLB when the biggest stars become free agents. With Aaron Judge entering free agency weeks after scripting a new home-run record, his market has been growing fast. The San Diego Padres are the latest to enter the fray. They are out to sign Aaron Judge while keeping a second option for Andrew Benintendi.

According to MLB Trade Rumors:

“The Padres have shown they are not afraid to make a huge strike, meaning they can’t be ruled out on getting Aaron Judge and perhaps moving (Juan) Soto over to left. However, with many large contracts already in place, they might opt for more modest options like Andrew Benintendi, Michael Brantley, or Mitch Haniger.”

MLB Trade Rumors also said on Monday that the Seattle Mariners might try to get Aaron Judge. The Yankees slugger turned down a seven-year, $213.5 million deal before Opening Day and will be a free agent after the World Series.

Randy Miller of NJ Advance Media claimed last week that if Judge prefers the Giants, he could make a lot of money. After meeting with members of the team’s ownership group, someone who knows what the Giants are thinking told NJ Advance Media that the team wants Aaron Judge and is willing to spend whatever it takes to get him. The person was given anonymity because they were not allowed to speak for the team.

The person said, “Judge is at the top of the Giants’ list, and they won’t be outbid.” “Money won’t be the reason if they miss out.”

Miller talked about the Giants’ interest in Judge on the Papa & Lund podcast:

“[The Giants] are getting a second, maybe a third guy to entice him. I think he’s ready to come home; I think he will come home. I think the Giants will give him the best offer. I think the Giants will sign another guy — maybe Trea Turner — and I wouldn’t be surprised if the Giants also bring Anthony Rizzo with him. … If [the Giants] get [Rizzo], that will convince Judge he can win. To me the biggest holdup here, can the Giants convince Judge they’re in it to win it every year? … As long as the Giants convince him that they’re going to win, and from what I hear Giants owners are prepared to get at least two, and maybe three people to build this lineup up and be contenders for the long-term so they can compete with the Dodgers.”

Aaron Judge, who is 30, is coming off one of his best seasons ever. He hit 62 home runs and set a new record for the American League. He was also in the running for the Triple Crown and remains the favorite for AL MVP.

The Yankees traded for Benintendi, a 28-year-old outfielder, before the deadline on August 2. At the time, he was one of the best hitters in the league for the Kansas City Royals and had just been to his first All-Star game. But the Gold Glove winner didn’t do much for the Yankees. He hit .254 in 33 games before breaking his right hand and missing the rest of the season.

The Yankees had hoped Benintendi could come back for the playoffs, but he never did and New York was swept by the Houston Astros in the American League Championship Series.

What do you think? Will the Padres bid for Aaron Judge or go away with Benintendi? Leave your comment below.

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