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Yankees again lowball Aaron Judge, but what does it mean?

Probably nothing.

Aaron Judge smiling while wearing a hoodie Photo by Daniel Shirey/Getty Images

The latest installment of MLB free agency updates from ESPN’s Jeff Passan is in, and naturally, every San Francisco Giants fan started scanning it immediately for news pertaining to Aaron Judge. And the first blip of news should make you catch your breath with excitement: the New York Yankees have, yet again, lowballed their MVP slugger.

The New York Yankees, whose chief desire this offseason is to retain Judge, have an offer on the table in the neighborhood of eight years and $300 million...

But halfway through the sentence you start breathing again, hit by the cold splash of water from reality.

...and could increase it, depending on how far the San Francisco Giants — the other top suitor — are willing to push the market. Across the industry, the expectation is that Judge re-signs

It’s unclear if the Yankees made such an offer because it’s a baseline in their negotiating strategy, or if they were actually silly enough to think that Judge might accept it. For reference, ESPN’s insiders recently predicted what Judge’s contract will be, with answers ranging from nine years and $325 million, to 10 years and $370 million.

So it’s not a massive lowball, but it’s still an offer that the Yankees should have (and probably did) know would be immediately brushed aside.

But does it mean anything? Occam’s razor says no. The Yankees made a low deal and they’ll wait to increase it until the market says they should.

On the other hand, it’s still a situation where the Yankees and Judge could have hammered out a deal that was fair to both sides before the superstar got to the point of free agency where he spent two days canoodling with the Giants. A low offer immediately followed by a flight out west suggests that either the Yankees are not as serious about Judge as they should be, or that Judge is not as serious about the Yankees as he could be.

It still feels like the cleanest path to signing Judge is to simply have him prefer heading to San Francisco over New York, but it does feel like the door is open for the Giants to get into a bidding war, which they’re very good at almost winning. The expectation is that Judge will sign fairly soon, with the winter meetings getting underway in a few days.

Hang tight. There are a lot of rumors and reports to be had. And probably som disappointment, too.