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Aaron Judge could have just hinted at leaving the New York Yankees

Vincent Frank

New York Yankees outfielder Aaron Judge is in the midst of an absolutely spectactular season.

How good has Judge been?

He entered the All-Star Break with 33 homers — the most for a Yankees player since Roger Maris back in 1961. It’s not a coincidence that Maris broke the single-season home run record that year. These are two of the greatest sluggers in the heralded history of the franchise.

For Judge, this also comes mere months before he’s slated to hit free agency. The AL MVP candidate has failed in his efforts to sign a long-term contract with New York — leading to speculation that a divorce could be in the cards.

In speaking to ESPN’s Marly Rivera ahead of Tuesday’s MLB All-Star Game from Judge’s native California, the veteran might have hinted that he’ll be departing the Bronx come winter time.

Rivera asked Judge about a young Yankees fan who was worried the outfielder won’t be a member of the team next season. His response was interesting.

“Jacob, buddy, we’ve got a lot of great Yankees on this team. There are a lot of great Yankees who will be here for a long time, so don’t be upset. Hopefully you’ll be a Judge fan for life.”

Aaron Judge on his future with the Yankees

Related: Aaron Judge and top MLB free agents of 2022-23

Aaron Judge and his future with the New York Yankees

aaron judge, new york yankees
Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

It was ahead of Opening Day that Judge reportedly turned down a seven-year, $213.5 million extension offer from New York. That $30.5 million average annual salary would have made Judge the 13th highest-paid player in MLB.

Given what we’ve seen from Judge this season, it would have been below-market value. Instead, the 30-year-old outfielder and his team settled on a one-year, $19 million deal while avoiding arbitration.

  • Aaron Judge stats (2022): .284 average, 33 HR, 70 RBI, .983 OPS, 209 total bases

Now that the Yankees are being linked to Washington Nationals star Juan Soto in trade talks, the possibility of Judge departing in free agency might have just increased. Right now, it’s nowhere near a guarantee.

“There’s a marriage made in heaven, but they both gambled and I think that it’s going to cost the New York Yankees a fortune. And I handicap it that it’s about a 50% chance that he comes back to the Yankees.”

New York Yankees great Alex Rodriguez on Aaron Judge

A native of California, there’s four large-market teams in his home state who could afford to sign Judge. This includes a San Francisco Giants squad that has been linked to Judge in recent months.

Depending on how the Soto situation plays out here in the coming weeks, we could get a better idea about where Judge and the Yankees stand. For now, there’s just not a lot of optimism on that front.