Out with a one-time NL MVP, in with the reigning AL MVP?
The Dodgers non-tendered Cody Bellinger before Friday night’s deadline, three years after he slugged his way to an NL MVP. Bellinger, 27, has seen his career fall on hard times since that 47-home run season and the World-Series-or-bust Dodgers now may have their eyes on a bigger prize.
The Post’s Jon Heyman reported that “word going around now” is the Dodgers are increasing their focus on Aaron Judge in free agency. Los Angeles has significant money off the books with Bellinger, Trea Turner, Craig Kimbrel, Tyler Anderson, David Price and Justin Turner all potentially moving on.
The Dodgers were previously seen on the periphery of the Judge free-agency sweepstakes with the Giants considered the biggest threat to the Yankees re-signing the 30-year-old. The Yankees, though, are still considered the favorite to bring back Judge, and GM Brian Cashman said Thursday night the Yankees have an offer into the outfielder’s camp.
“We’re on the clock. So we’re certainly not going to mess around,” Cashman said at the Covenant House Sleep Out at Silverstein Family Park. “So of course we’ve made another offer.”
It is clearly going to be much higher than the seven-year, $213.5 million deal Judge rejected before the season — and before he hit an American League record-setting 62 home runs to lead the Yankees to an AL East title.
“We know where we’re at. I can tell you, that’s not gonna stop us,” Hal Steinbrenner said at the owners meetings this week when asked about the Yankees’ payroll.
The Giants also indicated that they were willing to break the bank for Judge’s services.
Beyond a bidding war, it could come down to Judge’s preference. He grew up outside the Bay Area in California and a chance to switch coasts could potentially be appealing. Still, Judge has thrived in the pressure-cooker of Yankee Stadium and has never publicly voiced any frustration with the franchise.
“I’m looking forward to getting the free-agent process going,’’ Judge said on a conference call after he was awarded the AL MVP on Friday night. “A lot of stuff doesn’t kick in until the winter meetings in December.”