Aaron Judge Reveals How Close He Was to Signing With Padres

Chadd Cady-USA TODAY Sports
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Imagine if Aaron Judge wasn’t captain of the New York Yankees. Apparently, the thought was almost a reality as the superstar outfielder revealed to reporters in San Diego on Friday that he almost signed with the Padres as a free agent two years ago.

According to Bob Nightengale of USA Today, Judge and his agents secretly flew into San Diego on Dec. 6, 2022, met three hours with Padres late owner Peter Seidler and general manager A.J. Preller at Petco Park, and were informed they were willing to offer at least a 10-year, $400 million contract.

Judge was flattered by their offer but returned home and agreed to a nine-year, $360 million deal to remain with the Yankees the next day.

“Oh yeah, I thought about it when I drove in,’’ Judge told USA TODAY Sports prior to the Yankees-Padres series opener. “It was a long time ago. I tried to keep it quiet, but when I walked around the streets, a couple of people got wind of it. It was tough to hide.

“But man, I was very impressed by [Seidler]. If we weren’t coming from the Yankees and the situation we have here, you never know. Just how he treated me and my family. Just a couple of hours meeting him, I was like, 'This is what it’s all about. This is a true owner. This is a guy who cares about every single person from the cooks to the guy they’re trying to sign.'

“He’s definitely missed over there.

“A very special guy.’’

Judge is off to a strong start this year for the Yankees, with an American League-leading .410 OBP and .629 slugging percentage in 55 games. The 2022 MVP was limited to 106 games last season due to injuries but still managed to hit 37 home runs, drive in 75, and finish 15th in AL MVP voting.

Maren Angus-Coombs


Maren Angus-Coombs was born in Los Angeles and raised in Nashville, Tenn. She is a graduate of Middle Tennessee State University and has been a sports writer since 2008. Despite being raised in the South, her sports obsession has always been in Los Angeles. She is currently a staff writer for the LA Sports Report Network.