Reminder: Mets will not be fighting Yankees for Aaron Judge

Aaron Judge treated image - home jersey pumping fist with batting helmet on in 2022
Aaron Judge treated image - home jersey pumping fist with batting helmet on in 2022

Speculation about the Mets and Aaron Judge began immediately after Judge turned down the Yankees’ last contract offer on April 8, the morning of Opening Day.

It was a reasonable topic to wonder about then, and remains so today. But the truth of the situation also remains unchanged: On that day, Mets sources said that they did not plan to fight the Yankees this offseason for Judge. With free agency set to begin next week, that has not changed.

Talking to Mets people about this all through the year, the team in Queens sees Judge as a Yankee, uniquely tailored to be an icon in their uniform, stadium and branding efforts. Owners Steve Cohen and Hal Steinbrenner enjoy a mutually respectful relationship, and do not expect to upend that with a high-profile bidding war.

The only way people involved can see the Mets changing course and pursuing Judge would be if the Yankees somehow declared themselves totally out of the bidding.

Beyond that, the Mets are already committed to a gargantuan contract for Francisco Lindor (10 years, $341 million). Cohen has the money to pay both Lindor and Judge, but that doesn’t mean the Mets consider it smart baseball to tie up two roster spots for the next decade on a pair of stars who will inevitably become aging stars.

Cohen wants to win a championship as soon as possible, but he is no George Steinbrenner -- and we mean that as a compliment, in the sense that he is not the type of owner to respond to a Wild Card series loss by launching an irrational free agent pursuit.

People who work in the Mets’ front office say that Cohen is more interested in supporting GM Billy Eppler in building out the type of farm system and infrastructure that would help produce a sustainable winner. He will continue to spend on free agents, but no one around the Mets senses an appetite this winter for a Judgian contract.