ANAHEIM, Calif. — Every team has an agenda at the trade deadline. Either you’re a buyer, or you’re a seller. Even the teams that are still trying to convince themselves that they are in the playoff hunt will move a piece or two. If you’re a buyer, generally you need a bat or an arm. This year, teams are looking to pick up both with one, major, blockbuster move.
If you haven’t been living under a rock, you know I’m talking about Shohei Ohtani, perhaps the most talented baseball player to ever step on a field. Whether Arte Moreno is willing to trade the 2021 AL Most Valuable Player is yet to be seen. The Sporting Tribune’s Claudia Gestro sat down with Aaron Judge, the only man standing between Ohtani and three-straight MVPs, to talk about navigating free agency and Ohtani’s potential landing spots.
Judge, winner of the 2022 AL MVP, signed a 9-year/$360,000,000 contract last offseason to remain a member of the Yankees for what should be the rest of his career. He hit free agency after declining multiple extension offers, betting on himself, and it paid dividends. There may be nobody better to give advice on the free agency process than No. 99. His most important piece of advice? Enjoy the moment.
“The biggest thing is enjoy the moment, enjoy the process… I know he has a lot of love here for the Angels and for LA. He’s done a lot of great things here for this fan base and for the game. I think when you get to the point of being a free agent I think it’s a time where you enjoy the moment, enjoy it with your family and reflect on it. You make the best decision for yourself. He’ll come to the right decision. He’s a smart individual, he’s got a lot of great people around him. I think all in all just enjoy the moment.”
Whether in a trade or as a free agent, there will be no shortage of teams that are vying for Ohtani’s services. At the end of the day, you’re essentially getting two players in one… and it doesn’t hurt that those players are an ace quality starting pitcher and arguably the best bat in the game.
In a sport with no salary cap, the Yankees are always in the mix for big free agents. Despite Ohtani’s rumored preferred destination being on the west-coast, it would be remiss if Judge did not chime in on what Ohtani in pinstripes could mean for the Yankees:
“It would be great. I think you have about 30 teams around the league that would love to have him wearing their uniform. You don’t know where he’s going to go. He could stay here in LA which I think would be great for the game or go to the east coast which I think would be great, but ultimately he’s got to make that decision and he’s definitely going to make the right one.”