Yankees slugger and likely AL MVP Aaron Judge is having a season for the ages. He on Tuesday night to move him to 57 with 20 Yankees games left to play. He's on pace for 65 this season and, well, we know all about the context behind getting to 61 and beyond.
Another aspect worth consideration here is Judge hits free agency after the season. He and the Yankees were unable to reach an extension, and he's putting together possibly the best contract year in sports history. That means that beyond his individual home run chase, questions will be asked about free agency.
On Tuesday, Judge's exploits were on display in Boston's Fenway Park and he was asked about possibly signing there.
Judge, ever the diplomat, answered as follows:
"Ooh," Judge replied with his trademark smile. "We'll talk about that at the end of the year."
"It's the best, they're some of the best in baseball. They're going to boo you, they're going to say some things, they're going to make you laugh," Judge said of the Boston fans. "It's all part of it. A lot of great history here, and this is one of the best places to play, so it's always fun going out there and trying to put on a show for them."
Only on the surface level, really.
The first thing to know is Judge is a ridiculously nice guy in interviews and doesn't like ruffling feathers. It's just not in his nature.
Also, he's about to hit free agency and the Red Sox are one of the teams in baseball with major financial clout. Why would he outright take them off the table when it's possible they could be a bidder that drives someone else's offer up? That would just be bad business.
Finally, the Red Sox's current situation doesn't seem ripe for a Judge addition. Judge is older than fellow right-field superstar Mookie Betts, who the Red Sox traded just one year removed from a World Series championship due to not wanting to pay top dollar for him. J.D. Martinez is hitting free agency while Xander Bogaerts is likely to opt out and might sign elsewhere. Rafael Devers is only one year away from free agency, so they have a decision to make there. Nathan Eovaldi, Rich Hill and Michael Wacha are also hitting free agency, so the rotation needs some serious attention.
I suppose it's possible to argue that in making drastic changes during an aggressive offseason, the Red Sox could make Judge their centerpiece -- which also hurts the Yankees, and you know that's a bonus for them -- but it feels like a major longshot.
Still, speculate away. We can't know for sure until things start happening after the season.