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Oh well

Aaron Judge continues the tradition of telling the Giants, “Thanks, but no thanks.”

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Tampa Bay Rays v New York Yankees Photo by Adam Hunger/Getty Images

The San Francisco Giants did not sign Yankees outfielder Aaron Judge to a large contract. He will remain a Yankee for life on a 9-year, $360 million deal.

Ah! Well. Nevertheless. The Giants might’ve been in it — that’s for the beat reporters who get paid to cover the Giants to repeat back to us after we’ve already read the article from a New York writer about what really went down — but in the end it didn’t matter. Stalking horses again, and this time in one of the best storylines ever.

It was only yesterday that Time Magazine named Judge their Athlete of the Year, and within that story, this bit:

In fact his wife, high school sweetheart Samantha Bracksieck, reminded him of a prediction he made in 2010, his senior year at Linden High School. “I said, in 10 years, I’ll be married to Sam,” says Judge, “and playing for the San Francisco Giants.” Judge smiles. “I was like, that’d better not get out.”

Masterful PR work by Judge and his team, because the Yankees deserved all this stress. Recall that Brian Cashman himself revealed that Judge had rejected their $8-year/$230.5 million extension offer back in Spring Training. Judge went on to break the American League home run record with 62. LOL Yankees. But also... lol us for thinking the Giants had a real shot after that.

I don’t think this comes as any big surprise, though. I didn’t try to reverse jinx this by writing that the Giants had no shot or by maintaining the position that no top of the market free agent wants to come to San Francisco (thanks to Zach Baum on Twitter for snipping this:)

Folks, if you forgot: the McCovey Chroncast’s official position is that no top of the market free agent hitter will ever sign in San Francisco. San Francisco is the perfect team to use to drive up other team’s bids. They’re the perfect team. It’s still a terrible place to hit, for the most part, it’s an expensive city to live in, the weather is, like, normal[...] there are seasons; the California state tax rate is so high that, you know, some place like LA or Los Angelaheim, like, they have the fairer weather still, the Hollywood proximity, and they’re willing to just pay more than the Giants are willing to pay.

This isn’t an I told you so. Aaron Judge remaining a Yankee for life to maintain a robust national profile and boost his Hall of Fame chances is a great move for him. And this isn’t an “Where do the Giants go from here?” type of post, either. They’re gonna do what they always do: maintain a modest payroll and compete for the third Wild Card spot.

The situation might compel someone to do a little more reporting on why the Giants come in second or worse with these big free agents. Maybe it’s playing in the same division as the Dodgers. Maybe it’s Larry Baer. Maybe it’s “San Francisco liberalism.” Or we might never know. Also, it could be worse: the Giants could be the Padres, who in consecutive days had Trea Turner and Aaron Judge (reportedly a $400 million deal!) reject their better financial offers to go where they wanted to play.

None of this changes hat the Giants still have to do the work of drafting and developing their own young talent, a feat that seems just out of their reach for the time being. Even there, though, Brian Sabean had decades to finally get it right and for all that young farm talent to coalesce around a six-year run. I see a lot of that Sabean twinkle and luck in Farhan Zaidi, which I’m sure would depress him and cause gasps at a SABR seminar.

He’s not an idiot, though, and his successes in spite of the team’s challenges have to make him and everyone in the front office feel good about their processes.

All of the team’s talent is in the front office. Try to remember that. Not the players on the field or coaches in the dugout or youngsters in the farm system. It’s the be-khaki’d guys who are paid to sit around and think about how to beat the system that they helped overhaul some 20 years ago. The Giants have the best minds in the game.

But never the best players.