In an exclusive interview with Barry M. Bloom of Sportico, SF Giants legend Barry Bonds shared his thoughts on Yankees outfielder Aaron Judge's amazing season and impending free agency. Bonds told Bloom he is a huge fan of Judge's game and expressed his desire for the Giants to ink Judge to a big contract this offseason, when Judge is set to become a free agent.
“I hope he signs here,” Bonds told Bloom. “Can it happen? I don’t know. It depends on what the Yankee payroll is. But we would love to have him, I’ll tell you that.”
Bloom asked Bonds how he feels about the discourse surrounding Judge's pursuit of the single-season home run record. Judge is one homer away from tying Roger Maris for the single-season record in the American League with 60 homers. However, he remains 13 big flies away from tying Bonds' 73 home run mark from his record-setting 2001 season.
Bonds' usage of performance-enhancing drugs has driven tiring conversations, particularly from East Coast-based media, lauding Judge's performance as the greatest season in MLB history. Bonds did not seem too bothered by the noise in his conversation with Bloom.
“Go for it,” Bonds told Bloom. “The way he swings he might as well hit one a day and get past me. I don’t care. Why not?... It doesn’t matter what people say."
Judge's numbers are incredible this season. The Linden, California native leads the league with 376 total bases, 125 runs scored, 97 walks, 60 home runs, a .316 average, a .422 on-base percentage, a .722 slugging percentage, and a 215 OPS+. And it's not like he was a slouch in previous years either.
From 2017-2021, Judge hit .280/.391/.563 with 154 big flies in 545 games. He was already slated to be one of the most hotly desired free agents this offseason before having one of the best single-season performances in MLB history.
Judge is one of several big-name free agents who the Giants should target this offseason. He would be the best outfielder in San Francisco since Bonds last played for the team and would give manager Gabe Kapler the star power in the middle of his lineup that the Giants have sorely missed this season. The fit is obvious. ESPN's Tim Kurkjian called Judge "exactly" what the Giants need earlier this month.
As Bonds noted, the Yankees have the potential to prevent the Giants from ever negotiating with Judge if they ink him to an extension. Bonds is technically employed by the Giants as an independent contractor but has no significant input on their day-to-day operations. However, he made clear what he would advise the team to go after the 30-year-old outfielder if he were asked.
“He’s got a long way to go. He’s still at the beginning part of his career,” Bonds said. “I pray Aaron never gets hurt and has a long career. Right now, he’s still young... Would I bet on him? Hell, yes. It’s going to be a very interesting negotiation. I just hope we win.”