As New York Yankees owner Hal Steinbrenner spoke this week about his recent conversations with Aaron Judge, his words were confident, constructed on the power of his team's staggering wealth. "He means a lot to this organization," he told the YES Network, "and I've made it clear to him we're going to do everything we can to make that happen."
There is an assumption among many execs with other organizations that in the end, the Yankees will retain their best player and biggest star.
But if the New York Mets are smart, they should make a major play for Judge, because no other player presents more perfect solutions for some of the challenges they face in reshaping the team for 2023. The Steinbrenner family has staggering wealth, and the Yankees' franchise might be more valuable than any other professional sports team in the world -- but Mets owner Steve Cohen has the sort of personal wealth that would enable him to outbid the Yankees.
And now is the perfect time to revisit the idea, whether or not staffers believe they can land the slugger in a bidding war. Following a sourced report posted on the Mets' network website, investigators from Major League Baseball are making at least a cursory examination of whether the Mets have backed away from a pursuit of Judge because of an understanding that Cohen will politely retreat from Yankees stars. If the Mets haven't already reached out to Judge's representatives, they could do so now in an effort to avoid an inquiry.
In the end, Judge might prefer to return to the Yankees, no matter what numbers the Mets or Giants or any other team throws at him. But Cohen and general manager Billy Eppler should take their shot, for plenty of reasons. Here are some of the many reasons the Mets should be chasing Judge and trying to pry him away from the Yankees:
1. The Mets need power for their lineup. Desperately.