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#pounditSunday, November 27, 2022

Rival AL team already recruiting Aaron Judge?

Aaron Judge looking on

Jul 15, 2019; Bronx, NY, USA; New York Yankees right fielder Aaron Judge (99) goes to the dugout between innings against the Tampa Bay Rays at Yankee Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports

New York Yankees slugger Aaron Judge won’t officially become a free agent for several more months, but an AL rival may already be getting a head start on the recruiting trail.

Before the Yankees opened up a series against the Los Angeles Angels on Tuesday, Angels utility man Tyler Wade revealed he had dinner with Judge earlier this week. Wade also said he may have been doing some recruiting.

“Yeah, you never know, I might have planted a couple of seeds,” said Wade, per Mike DiGiovanna of the LA Times. “[Judge] is having a great year. He deserves everything coming to him.”

Wade, a former Yankee, definitely figures to have Judge’s ear. The two players were teammates for the last five seasons from 2017 to 2021.

As for the Angels, a realistic pathway does exist to the three-time All-Star Judge if he is so inclined. They have roughly $118 million on the books for 2023 with a $233 million luxury tax threshold to work around (though that figure does not include the titanic extension potentially in play for two-way supernova Shohei Ohtani, who is arbitration-eligible in 2023 and could land a long-term deal from the Angels before that).

It is also worth noting that the Angels had previously sniffed around Judge, who currently leads the AL in both home runs and runs scored. The 30-year-old will obviously be a highly-coveted free agent this winter, and the Halos are not even the first opposing team to emerge as an early suitor.


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