June 18, 2024

Aaron Judge admitted that he would have played with his New York Yankees superstar teammate Juan Soto in some capacity.

The Yankees almost lost their biggest star in 2022

According to USA Today’s Bob Nightengale, Judge recently claimed that the San Diego Padres organization impressed him enough to consider signing with them during his highly sought-after free agency in 2022 (h/t Benjamin Adduccio of ClutchPoints).

“But man, I was pretty impressed with [Seidler]. You never know what would happen if we weren’t coming from the Yankees and in this position,” Judge said. “Exactly how he treated me and my family.” After only a few hours of meeting him, I realized, ‘This is what it’s all about. This is the genuine owner. This is a guy that cares about everyone, from the cooks to the guy they’re attempting to sign.

 

Yankees' Aaron Judge 1st in majors to 40 home runs | The Seattle Times

Yankees: Aaron Judge could’ve joined the San Diego Padres with Juan Soto in 2022

The Padres not only portrayed themselves as a first-rate company, but they also threw a large sum of money at the former 2022 AL MVP in an attempt to entice him to San Diego. The Padres offered Judge more than $400 million, significantly exceeding the nine-year, $360 million contract he signed with the Yankees that fall.

Judge would have entered the 2023 season next to Soto, a slugger who hit 35 home runs and 109 RBIs in San Diego that year. The Dominican All-Star came out two months before Opening Day and declared that he never intended to leave the Washington Nationals—the organization who drafted him and traded him to the Padres in 2022— so had Judge opted to move to the West Coast, he and Soto’s pairing may not have been a career-long one.

Judge and Soto’s pairing is fruitful in New York and could last a decade

Regardless, the two are taking the Major Leagues by storm in the Bronx. They are baseball’s top power-hitting duo, with a combined 31 home runs. The Yankees have the second-best record in the MLB (37-17), thanks in large part to their offensive strength, and they appear to be serious World Series contenders.

Furthermore, Soto’s feelings toward the Nationals may be history now that he’s succeeding with the Yankees. He said that he is open to a contract extension with Yankees owner Hal Steinbrenner in the hopes of staying in New York ahead of his widely anticipated free agency in 2025.

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