Report: Dodgers could become ‘serious players’ to sign Aaron Judge

When Mookie Betts signed a 12-year, $365 million extension in 2020 with the Los Angeles Dodgers, both he and the team envisioned him being the right fielder for the next decade. 

However, the new American League home run king could put a wrinkle in that plan. 

According to MLB writer Mark Feinsand, Los Angeles could become “serious players” in the Aaron Judge free agency market and would move Betts, who is open to the idea, to second base if a deal is reached.

Judge is coming off a historic season with the New York Yankees hitting 62 home runs and breaking the American League record set by Roger Maris (61) in 1961. Judge wasn’t just a home run threat at the plate. In 157 games, Judge slashed .311/.425/.686. 

Judge’s outstanding season has him as the favorite to win the AL MVP at -3000, per Oddschecker.

With Judge hitting the free agent market, there is speculation he could return home to California. The San Francisco Giants have been linked to the slugger since he grew up in Sacramento, about 100 miles away from Oracle Park. With most marquee free agents, however, the Dodgers are always in play.

If the Dodgers do sign Judge and move Betts to second base, it wouldn’t be a huge shock for Mookie. Betts was originally drafted as a second baseman. Betts has played a handful of games at second base for the Dodgers, including five starts (seven games total) in 2022.

“Being able to play second base is kind of something I’ve been doing my whole life,” Betts told Sports Illustrated in early September. “Getting to go back there is just a lot of fun for me, personally. I really, really do enjoy it, but they pay me to catch these fly balls.”

Moving Betts to second base could also benefit him health-wise. Betts has dealt with nagging bone spurs in his hip since last season, so a move to the infield could avoid a future injury.

If the Dodgers do sign Judge they will most certainly be taking on another $300 million contract. However, they can alleviate some of the financial pressure. Trea Turner, Craig Kimbrel, Joey Gallo, Justin Turner (club option), and others are coming off the books in 2023, saving around $100 million.

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