What should the Yankees do if they don’t sign Aaron Judge?

Many expect the Yankees to do whatever it takes to renew with Aaron Judge. But what if they don’t?

Many thought the Cardinals would sign the Dominican albert pujols after the 2011 season, and that the Braves would renew with Freddy Freeman after 2021. Both left.

The point is that when a player hits the free market, anything is possible.

The Bronx Bombers want to keep Judge, but he may get a better offer from the Giants or Dodgers and decide to return to his native California. Losing the reigning AL MVP would certainly be devastating for the Yankees and their fans, but the club would have to turn the tables quickly.

Here are four moves New York could make if Judge signed with another team.

This would be mandatory. The Bronx’s ninth may be satisfied with the options it has right now for shortstops, which include prospects. Anthony Volpe and the Venezuelan Oswald Perazaplus Isiah Kiner-Falefa. But if Judge leaves, the Yankees would need a superstar to fill the gap on and off the field.

While neither Correa nor Turner could replace Judge’s offensive production or some of the intangibles he brings to the roster, signing one of the top two shortstops on the market would soften the blow of losing their best player and assuage a disappointed fan base. .

Even if the Yankees were to sign Correa or Turner, they would have to do something to fill the hole in right field. Brandon NimmoThe second best ranger on the market after Judge, is an attractive option with experience playing in the Big Apple. However, the Yankees would have to give up amateur draft picks and $1 million in funding to international signings to sign Nimmo, who turned down a qualifying offer from the Mets. (Turner also turned down a qualifying offer from the Dodgers.)

So what if they replaced one MVP with another by signing Bellinger?

Bellinger hasn’t performed as an MVP since receiving the honor in the National League in 2019, for which he was released by the Dodgers on Friday. But the left-handed hitter is only 27 years old. And while there appears to be little chance of him producing like he did in 2019, it’s arguable that Bellinger is the only free-agent outfielder with offensive potential that can be bought with Judge’s. He’s also a Gold Glove-winning center fielder, so he’d be a formidable defensive replacement in right field.

Perhaps the Yankees, who were able to revive the career of Matt Carpenter last season, they would be willing to take that risk.

With Gerrit Cole signed long-term and the Cuban Nestor Cortes Jr.the Dominicans louis severino, Frankie Montas Y Sunday German Y clarke schmidt under control by 2023 or later, the Yankees’ rotation looks pretty solid heading into next season. But there are also questions. First of all, New York lacks depth, which could be a problem given that Severino, Montás and Germán all missed time with injuries in 2022. The Yankees are counting on Cortés to maintain the level he displayed in his breakout season in the 2022. But if you take a step back?

For those reasons, the Yankees should consider going for one of the luxury pitchers on the market even if Judge returns. What if Judge signs with another team? All the more reason to do it.

Of the top three free agent starters — Verlander, Jacob deGrom and Carlos Rodón — Verlander looks like the most attractive option. He is the best of the three, but he is the only one who did not receive a qualifying offer. He would also demand a shorter contract than Rodon is seeking and there is less question about his durability compared to deGrom, despite his recent Tommy John surgery.

Signing Verlander would also rectify a weighty decision the Yankees made half a decade ago. Yankees owners were unwilling to take responsibility for Verlander’s contract when the Tigers decided to trade him in 2017, something that may have cost New York several World Series titles. It was the Astros that acquired Verlander and then beat the Yankees in the SCLA that year, and in 2019 and 2022 as well.

The Yankees tried to sign Verlander when the right-hander became a free agent a year ago after undergoing Tommy John surgery. It was reported that he was offered a one-year contract valued at US$25 million. But the right-hander returned to Houston for the same amount (plus an option for 2023) and went on to win his third Cy Young Award.

It’s time for Verlander to finally don New York’s pinstripes.

4) Find another outfielder on the exchange market

In our hypothetical situation, the Yankees would be lacking a bit more offense. His best chance to strengthen would be in left field, where Aaron Hicks He is emerging as a starter right now. Hicks’ $70 million, seven-year contract doesn’t expire until after 2025, but that looks like lost money after the ranger posted an 83 OPS+ with 12 home runs in 162 games over the past two seasons.

Michael Conforto, Andrew Benintendi and Japan’s Masataka Yoshida are among the top free agents who don’t have a qualifying offer, but the previous three moves are likely to leave New York’s roster nearly stretched out.

If that is the case, a change would make more sense. The Cubs’ Ian Happ (under control until the end of the 2023 season), the Pirates’ Bryan Reynolds (2025) and Daulton Varsho (2026) would be options.

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What should the Yankees do if they don’t sign Aaron Judge?