Should the LA Angels sign Aaron Judge?
The Los Angeles Angels are no stranger to handing out long and lucrative contracts to veteran sluggers. The Angels signed Albert Pujols to a ten-year $240 million dollar deal. Pujols wasn't the same player he was in St. Louis and didn't last the full ten years in Anaheim.
The Angels also signed Josh Hamilton to a five-year $125 million dollar deal as a free agent. He played just two seasons in LA and struggled mightily.
The Angels have Anthony Rendon on a massive seven-year $245 million dollar deal right now. That has been a disastrous signing three seasons in. They also have Mike Trout on a 12-year $426.5 million dollar deal (that one is fine). Aaron Judge would be the second-biggest signing in Angels history if he was signed.
The Angels should not sign Aaron Judge to the massive deal he is going to require.
The Angels were 25th in runs scored this past season even with Trout and Ohtani on the roster. They have a hole in left field, as guys like Jo Adell and Mickey Moniak can't really be relied upon to provide good production there. If the Angels signed Judge, they could move Ward to left and plug him in right, providing an unbelievable boost to the offense.
Judge is coming off of a season where he slashed .311/.425/.686 with an American League-record 62 home runs and 131 RBI. Simply put, Judge had one of the greatest offensive seasons of all time.
In addition to the offense, Judge is an elite defender. He was in the 82nd percentile in outs above average according to baseball savant while playing some center field as well.
Judge has a 52-home-run season on his resume already and is without a doubt one of the best players in the game. Even with that being said, the Angels should not sign him.
Before the season, Judge turned down an eight-year $213.5 million dollar extension. That's over $26 million dollars annually for eight seasons for a 30-year-old.
This extension was offered before Judge had his record-breaking year. He will earn a lot more than the $26 million dollars annually offered, and might even get another year or two tacked on as well.
The Angels have over $100 million dollars committed to Trout, Rendon, and Ohtani for the 2023 season. Adding another $35 million dollars (or more) for Judge means the Angels will have a very hard time fielding a competitive team around those four players.
The Angels have other needs that need to be addressed and it's very hard to rely on budget players to produce at a high level which is what would need to happen if the Angels have any dream of returning to the postseason in 2023.
Furthermore, Judge has an injury history. He's stayed healthy in each of the past two seasons, missing 14 games in 2021 and just five games in 2022. Judge had missed substantial time in 2018, 2019, and 2020.
It's safe to assume that a player the size of Judge with his injury history won't age particularly well. It would likely be the latest example of an albatross contract signed by the Angels.
In my opinion, the Angels are better off spreading the money around to fill multiple needs rather than hoping Judge comes close to meeting the expectations on the contract he signs. I can expect that Judge will never replicate the season he just had.