Heading into the 2022 season, just about anyone you asked would have agreed that the Detroit Tigers were not only heading in the right direction but that if everything clicked, they could challenge for a wild card playoff spot.
Fast forward to the present day and the Tigers are not only out of the playoff race but they are arguably one of the worst baseball teams in baseball.
In fact, the Tigers struggled so much in 2022 that they made the decision to fire Al Avila before the season concluded.
What it would cost the Detroit Tigers to land Aaron Judge
Just over a week ago, news broke that the Detroit Tigers were hiring Scott Harris as their President of Baseball Operations and the speculation began as to what he will do to turn around the once proud franchise.
In case you have not heard, New York Yankees slugger (and potential MVP) Aaron Judge, who currently has 60 home runs on the season, will become a free agent at the conclusion of the 2022 MLB season.
Of course, there have been some Tigers fans who have taken to social media to toss out the idea that their team should make Judge an offer he would not refuse.
On Wednesday, Kiley McDaniel of ESPN released an article that includes predictions from 14 MLB executives in regards to the contract Judge will get during the upcoming offseason.
Here are the 14 predictions from lowest to highest total dollars committed: (Via ESPN)
7 years for $259 million
10 for $265 million
8 for $280 million
8 for $280 million
8 for $300 million
7 for $301 million
9 for $320 million
8 for $320 million
8 for $328 million
9 for $333 million
9 for $335 million
10 for $340 million
10 for $341 million
10 for $375 million
In the article, McDaniel notes that these average out to 8.6 years and just below $320 million, which just so happens to be the median response.
Some respondents said they would include escalators, vesting options and bonuses of note, as teams scared about a big guarantee or long term for a player of Judge's size, position, and history wouldn't mind paying as long as the performance continued. I'd also expect some creativity to dress up the final number, or an opt-out so the slugger can potentially capitalize on another shot at free agency if he keeps this up.
For reference, when the Yankees offered $213.5 million before the season, I estimated his true value at that time to be between $213.5 million and $250 million, and now a panel of experts think he's worth about $320 million. In other words: Aaron Judge has made about $100 million this year by betting on himself. The experts with the top couple of projections pointed out that they expected a bidding war and projected a contract that reflected that, which we'll get into below.
Now, it is also important to consider that Aaron Judge would want to come to Detroit in the first place. Personally, I don't think he is going to want to come to a team coming off a dismal season UNLESS the Tigers were willing to overpay him both in years and money (Think 10 years, $360 million+). That is not something I believe Scott Harris is even remotely interested in doing as I think his focus will be on acquiring younger players and continuing to develop them.
Nation, if you were the Detroit Tigers, would you make a big for Aaron Judge?