The Aaron Judge sweepstakes have dominated the headlines of the MLB offseason so far, and they finally came to a conclusion on Wednesday morning when Judge opted to stay with the New York Yankees on a massive nine-year, $360 million deal. With Judge returning to New York, that left the San Francisco Giants wondering what more they could have done to sign him.
Reports began to surface on Tuesday night that Judge had opted to sign with the Giants, and while they were eventually deemed to be false, the buzz was still that Judge would end up with San Francisco eventually. That all ended up falling apart on Wednesday, when Judge re-signed with the Yankees. Whether or not he actually intended on signing with the Giants and reversed his course remains to be seen.
Missing out on Judge is going to hurt the Giants for the time being, but they cannot allow this to define their offseason. There is still time for San Francisco to salvage their offseason and make big moves elsewhere, so let's take a look at three moves the Giants have to make now that Judge has committed his future to the Yankees.
3. Sign Brandon Nimmo
There obviously isn't a direct replacement for Judge, but signing the next best available free agent outfielder is what the Giants are going to have to look into doing at this point. And right now, that outfielder will end up being Brandon Nimmo, who could see a lot more interest now that Judge is off the market.
Nimmo put together the best season of his career at the perfect time in 2022 (.274 BA, 16 HR, 64 RBI, .800 OPS) and will likely earn a handsome deal as a result. Nimmo's numbers are obviously a far cry from what Judge produced during the 2022 season, but that can't really be taken into account at this point; the Giants need outfield help, and Nimmo is now the best guy available.
Nimmo is a solid left-handed bat who can play all three spots in the outfield, which is exactly what San Francisco needs right now. He isn't Judge, but nobody on the market comes close to Judge's 2022 production. Now that they have missed out on Judge, it's clear that the Giants still have a need for help in their outfield, which makes a deal for Nimmo worth pursuing.
2. Re-sign Carlos Rodon
The Giants have money to spend, so it makes sense for them to increase their efforts to re-sign Carlos Rodon now that they won't be blowing a bag on Judge. Rodon signed with the Giants in free agency just last offseason, but opted to hit the market again this offseason in order to find an even bigger deal than the one he got last year.
The reason Rodon can do that is because his first season with San Francisco was such a success. Rodon has dealt with injury concerns throughout his career, but he was able to put those all to bed in 2022 with easily the best season of his career (14-8, 2.88 ERA, 237 K, 1.03 WHIP). Rodon made 31 starts, and proved he can be a top tier ace who can last a full season in the league.
Re-signing Rodon made a lot of sense beforehand, but now that they have struck out on Judge, bringing him back to lead their rotation makes a lot more sense. Rodon was easily the Giants best starter last season, and pairing him back up with Logan Webb to lead the rotation would help San Fran stay competitive in the National League West despite the fact they struck out on Judge.
1. Sign Carlos Correa
The Giants prime objective this offseason has been to add a big bat to anchor their lineup moving forward. That's the main reason they were in on Judge, and while losing him hurts, there are other big name bats available on the market that San Francisco can turn to now. The guy they have reportedly keyed in on now that Judge is off the market is Carlos Correa.
Correa took a similar course to free agency this offseason as Rodon did, signing with the Minnesota Twins last year, putting together a strong season (.291 BA, 22 HR, 64 RBI, .834 OPS) and then opting out and hitting the market in an effort to earn a bigger deal. Considering how consistently good Correa has been throughout his career, and how he's only 28, he's likely going to get paid this offseason.
The Giants obviously have money to burn if they were looking to sign Judge, so it makes a lot of sense to change gears and go after Correa now. Correa doesn't have a true weakness in his game, and he has better long-term value than Judge. Correa isn't the hitter that Judge is, but if there is one way to move on from losing out on Judge, it would be to go out and sign Correa.