Aaron Judge is going home this week, and not just for the holiday.
The free-agent star was spotted in San Francisco on Monday night, according to a video from MLB Network, and is expected to meet with the Giants this week.
The Giants, the team Judge grew up rooting for in Northern California, are seen as one of, if not the biggest threat to the Yankees to land the newly crowned AL MVP.
“Just visiting some family and friends, that’s about it,” Judge, who appeared to be entering a hotel, said with a smile and a wink in the video posted to Twitter by MLB Network.
The Yankees have a new offer to Judge on the table, general manager Brian Cashman confirmed last week, and managing general partner Hal Steinbrenner has talked to Judge directly to reinforce the club’s desire to keep him in pinstripes.
But the Giants, Dodgers and perhaps others are expected to take a swing at Judge, who turned down a seven-year, $213.5 million extension offer from the Yankees before Opening Day. The Giants are the first team known to have a visit set up with Judge,
“I’m looking forward to getting the free-agent process going,’’ Judge said on Thursday after winning his first 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.”
The Giants, who finished 81-81 last season, are expected to be big spenders this offseason. Judge, who could command a contract in excess of $300 million, grew up in Linden, Calif., about two hours away from the Giants’ home stadium, which now goes by Oracle Park.
“Does he daydream about elsewhere?” Cashman said last week. “Only he can answer that.”
But Judge also said last week he valued winning the most when asked about what mattered to him in upcoming negotiations.
“The most important thing is a winning culture and being with a team that’s committed to winning,” Judge said, “not only for the remainder of my playing career, but I want the legacy to live on with the organization.”