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MLB Winter Meetings: SF Giants, Aaron Judge give everyone plenty to talk about on Day 2

By Evan Webeck

SAN DIEGO — The baseball world, gathered here in its entirety at the Manchester Grand Hyatt, came to a halt early Tuesday afternoon. But Giants manager Gabe Kapler didn’t break stride.

Kapler had just finished speaking to reporters and was en route to his next commitment when phones in every corner of the hotel buzzed with the winter’s biggest breaking news. Kapler, for once, chose not to look at his phone.

Good choice.

False alarm.

In the span of a few minutes, sometime after 2 p.m., MLB Network insider Jon Heyman reported that Aaron Judge had decided on his next destination — he was going to be a Giant — but quickly retracted the report. It was the clearest showing yet of the seesawing emotions hanging on Judge’s decision.

“Not cool man,” San Francisco starter Logan Webb replied to Heyman, echoing the feelings of Giants fans everywhere who saw the initial report and believed they had completed the coup, convinced the top free agent slugger was coming to play for the team he followed growing up.

Judge’s decision remained a mystery as attendees headed to dinner Tuesday night.

The Giants, Judge’s top suitor, and Yankees, the team he has played for his entire career, have each made their pitches and contract offers. Judge visited San Francisco the week before Thanksgiving and has an offer in hand “believed to be (in the) $360M neighborhood,” per Heyman. The last reported offer from New York was $300 million over eight years.

With Judge believed to en route to the winter meetings — a private jet that originated in Tampa, where Judge was Monday, was scheduled to land in San Diego about half past 4 — all either team could do was wait.

“It’s been an uncomfortable hour, but I know nothing,” Yankees manager Aaron Boone said.

Giants CEO Larry Baer arrived at the hotel as rumors swirled.

“I have nothing to report,” he said.

While Baer’s presence at the offseason gathering is routine, he, like the rest of the organization, is aware of the magnitude of these particular meetings.

“I’ve been coming to winter meetings for a lot of years, and this is the most exciting time that I can remember,” Kapler said shortly before the Judge flurry started. “This feels like there’s a lot at stake for the game with the draft lottery, with the big names like the shortstops and all of the players that we’re talking about, it feels like there’s a lot at stake for Major League Baseball.”

Oh, but the Giants?

“Yes,” Kapler said. “But always. It’s not unique to this moment.”

While Zaidi said Monday that he believed Giants’ meeting with Judge was “really productive,” Kapler declined to provide any more details, such as the input he had. For now, he was left to daydream of the possibility of penciling Judge into the Giants’ lineup everyday for the next decade.

“It’s really exciting for baseball,” Kapler said. “Envisioning some of these players in new uniforms, and obviously the names that we’re all talking about, really excited about the possibility of some of them being Giants and trust the process and how hard our front office and our staff in general is working on both evaluating and acquiring the best free agents.”

Leave it to Scott Boras to give a vague premonition about the status of the free-agent market, preferably with a little wordplay mixed in. The superagent’s San Francisco-themed statement Tuesday: “The Golden Gate is Farhan and wide.”

Huh.

Boras doesn’t represent Judge — his agent is Page Odle — but does have many of the other top free agent outfielders, such as Brandon Nimmo and Cody Bellinger, on his client list. His quote was in response to a question of whether he thought the Giants had the financial firepower to add another top-of-the-market player in addition to Judge.

Source: Paradise Post