The Giants put on a full-court press for Aaron Judge’s two-day visit to San Francisco — including connecting him with the current face of sports and championships in the Bay Area.
During Judge’s free-agent meetings with the Giants, they put the AL MVP in touch with NBA superstar Stephen Curry’s camp, NBC Sports Bay Area reported on Wednesday, hoping the two icons could talk.
The Warriors star was just part of the Giants’ pitch to Judge, a Northern California native, who also shared a Monday night dinner with his agent Page Odle, team president Larry Baer, president of baseball operations Farhan Zaidi, manager Gabe Kapler and other members of the organization, according to the report.
The visit was the first known stop on Judge’s free-agent tour, which could also include hearing from the Dodgers, among others. It was not immediately clear whether the Giants made an offer to Judge during their time together or have since he left.
The Yankees have an offer on the table to Judge, and Hal Steinbrenner talked to him directly to reiterate his desire to keep the outfielder in pinstripes for the rest of his career. It figures to take a contract in excess of $300 million to make that happen.
Judge, who turned down the Yankees’ seven-year, $213.5 million offer before Opening Day, said last week he was excited to start the free-agent process, which appeared to kick into gear during his visits with the Giants on Monday and Tuesday at Oracle Park.
“I’m looking forward to getting the free-agent process going,’’ Judge said last week after he won the AL MVP Award. “I don’t know how fast or slow it’s gonna go. There’s teams that we’ve talked to. For me, if we’re going to build a winning team, if I can get my stuff out of the way, it’s always an advantage. Once I get into it, it might move fast or slow. You never really know.”
When asked what was most important to him in free-agent negotiations, Judge said he valued a winning culture and “being with a team that’s committed to winning.” The Giants have won three titles since 2010, and in case that wasn’t enough, they hoped to connect Judge with Curry, who has delivered four NBA championships to the Bay Area since 2015.
While Judge was visiting San Francisco, current Giants also made their push to recruit him. Outfielder Joc Pederson posted a photoshopped picture of Judge in a Giants jersey to Instagram, along with the caption, “We’re ready when u are 99,” referencing Judge’s number. The post was shared by fellow Giants Brandon Crawford and Logan Webb.
In September, former Giants star Barry Bonds told Sportico he hoped Judge signed with San Francisco. It is not known whether Bonds was also involved in the Giants’ pitch this week. Judge grew up watching Bonds and said on his way to hitting 62 home runs this year that he still considered him to be the MLB home run king despite his ties to performance-enhancing drugs.
Judge hails from Linden, Calif., about a two-hour drive from Oracle Park.
“Does he daydream about elsewhere?” Yankees general manager Brian Cashman said last week. “Only he can answer that.”