ESPN’s Passan: Aaron Judge would be ‘100%’ worth it for Mariners
The Mariners are coming off their best season in decades and going into maybe the biggest offseason in franchise history. So should they be going after the No. 1 name in free agency?
That name would be outfielder Aaron Judge, who hit an American League-record 62 home runs in 2022 for the New York Yankees and finished with the highest OPS (1.111) in a full season by any player since 2008. The Mariners, meanwhile, could have a spot in their outfield for Judge, and it’s not like their lineup couldn’t use that kind of thump added to it.
Clearly, the 30-year-old Judge is in for a massive payday and a lengthy contract this offseason, and he’ll have more than his fair share of suitors. Will the Mariners be one of them?
“There should be a conversation,” ESPN MLB reporter Jeff Passan told Seattle Sports’ Brock and Salk on Wednesday.
There’s a ‘but’ coming, though.
“If (the Mariners) dip their toe into that water, (they) are going to be getting into a bidding war with teams that they do not want to be in bidding wars with,” Passan said. “The Yankees are going to be front and center, the San Francisco Giants are going to be involved, the Los Angeles Dodgers are in play, and the New York Mets are lurking.”
Mike Salk had a follow-up question to that for Passan: Would it be worth it for the Mariners to pay whatever it costs to get Judge?
Answered Passan: “100% yes.”
“Absolutely worth it, because this is their window, man,” Passan continued, explaining that the Mariners’ “window” of contending for a World Series is now open. “There will be organizations, like the Astros, that have a window, and through excellent management and through great player development figure out how to extend that window beyond the three to four years that it’s projected as. Aaron Judge is going to be still in his prime for probably the next three or four years, and maybe he is an anomaly who does this into his late 30s, and maybe it’s a disaster and he falls apart if he leaves – or even if he stays in – New York. All these things are possibilities.
“But if you’re trying to win now, and I think the Mariners are unequivocally trying to win now, then why wouldn’t you go out and make a run at the best player on the free agent market? Especially in a position of need, frankly.”
You can listen to Passan’s full weekly conversation on Brock and Salk, which also includes his thoughts on the Mariners’ options in the shortstop market, in the podcast at this link or in the player below.
Further reading: Mike Lefko makes the case for Mariners to pursue Aaron Judge