Aaron Judge

Zaidi ‘never really believed' Judge would sign with Giants

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Aaron Judge and the Giants forever will be tied after an offseason recruiting effort in San Francisco fell just short, and the superstar signed a nine-year contract with the New York Yankees.

Giants president of baseball operations Farhan Zaidi addressed the Judge pursuit once again Tuesday.

“I don’t know if it’s a coping mechanism, but I never really believed he was going to sign here,” Zaidi said to Joel Sherman and Jon Heyman on “The Show” podcast. “Like with a lot of things, you want to control your emotions. Baseball is so unpredictable, both with free agency and with trades. There have been so many times when I thought trades were at the 1-yard line or 5-yard line, and it winds up not happening. You don’t really believe something is done before it’s done.

“As disappointed as we were with the way that wound up, the way Aaron got started this season, the question should be less of why we weren’t able to sign him, and more where the other [teams] were [while the Giants and Yankees were bidding on Judge].

“At the end of the day, I think he gave us real consideration. He flew out here with his wife, spent a weekend with us, spent a lot of time with us. … I believe the interest was sincere."

Judge was mashing his way through the first year of his new Yankees contract with a 1.078 OPS and 19 homers in 49 games before landing on the injured list in June with a torn ligament in his big toe. The reigning American League MVP is expected to miss a significant portion of the season.

Nearly seven months after Judge spurned the Giants' offer, it's easy for Zaidi to understand Judge's rationale agreeing to return to the organization that drafted him in 2013 and made him a star.

"I think about big life decisions that we’ve all had to make … you run hot and cold on it," Zaidi told Sherman and Heyman. "I’m guessing there were times when Aaron thought the idea of playing for the Giants and being closer to his family was really appealing. But how can you not feel the pull of being a Yankee for life? 

"… I think he went back and forth a bit and then ended up doing what felt right to him. … I think it was logical and sensible for us to do everything we could to land him."

Nearly midway through the 2023 season, the Giants are 44-34 and in second place in the NL West. The Yankees, after winning the Judge sweepstakes, are 43-35 and in third place in the AL East.

The search for a superstar in San Francisco continues, but the Giants clearly are on the right path to sustained success.

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