Aaron Judge on Wednesday agreed to a mammoth nine-year, $360 million deal to stay with the Yankees — an eye-popping number that certainly would have been smaller a year ago but became the cost of doing business after Judge smashed an American League-record 62 home runs last season.
Judge's decision, at least on the surface, would seem to have little to do with Carlos Correa. But in a roundabout way, it has a lot to do with Correa and the Twins' pursuit of retaining the star shortstop.
Given that Judge is the biggest domino to fall, a lot of other things can now fall into place.
The Giants, for instance, were in pursuit of Judge and might now turn their attention to Correa. The Cubs, too, are said to be after Correa.
With one of the four marquee shortstops already off the board — Trea Turner's 11-year, $300 million pact with the Phillies helped shape the market — the Judge signing could trigger a flurry of other moves.
That it came just a couple days after the Yankees said they were willing to be patient with Judge — suggesting that this could take a while, which it clearly did not — might bring the Twins clarity sooner rather than later.
The Twins, having had Correa for a season, value his on-field contributions as well as his leadership — an intangible quality that I talked about on Wednesday's Daily Delivery podcast.
"He's a guy that we obviously want and care a lot about and think can be an enormous factor for us for a long time, playing at shortstop and leading," Twins manager Rocco Baldelli said Monday at baseball's winter meetings. "... We think we've positioned ourselves well to be one of the highest-priority options for him. So we feel good about that. We just have to let things play out."
The Judge contract was one of those things that had to play out. Now that it has, buckle up.