Aurilia confident Judge had interest in Giants after dinner originally appeared on NBC Sports Bayarea
If there was one person who could convince Aaron Judge to sign with the Giants, it might have been his childhood idol.
Judge, a Northern California native, grew up rooting for the Giants and his favorite player was none other than former San Francisco infielder Rich Aurilia. When Judge visited with the Giants for two days before Thanksgiving, the organization wisely asked Aurilia to attend their meeting with the slugger at Oracle Park.
Aurilia joined KNBR 680's "Papa & Lund" Thursday morning, where he discussed meeting Judge and why it was so special for him to be included.
"I was asked the day before, I got a text from Larry Baer asking me if I would come and help them represent the ball club and the organization - based on the fact Aaron Judge said that I was a guy he watched growing up," Aurilia said. "One, I was honored to be involved in it, just to be included in the organization. But also that a guy like Aaron Judge watched me growing up. Usually I get 'Oh, I watched Bonds and Kent and JT Snow.' So that was pretty cool. So I agreed and I told Larry I'd show up. Did a little pre-dinner thing at the Cloud Club out there in left field."
Aurilia revealed that in addition to Giants president of baseball operations Farhan Zaidi, president and CEO Larry Baer and manager Gabe Kapler, starting pitcher Logan Webb and shortstop Brandon Crawford also attended the dinner with Judge and his wife Samantha.
Before arriving at Oracle Park, the Giants had taken Judge to look at neighborhoods in the East Bay. Despite speculation that Judge simply used San Francisco's interest as leverage against the New York Yankees, Aurilia believes his interest was genuine, recalling a conversation with Judge where the slugger revealed he had looked at homes in Scottsdale, Arizona where the Giants' spring training facility is located.
"I kind of feel like I'm a decent judge of character," Aurilia added. "There's no doubt in my mind that this was a genuine thing. He had interest. I don't think it was a ploy to just build up a market or run a price up. I think he had serious interest in the San Francisco Giants as his next employer and his next team.
"To the extent of our conversation, he had even mentioned he'd been out in Scottsdale looking at some homes previously. So by no means do I think this was a ploy or there was anything that was not genuine out of Aaron Judge or his team to try to boost up the number. I felt like he was genuinely interested in the Giants as an organization."
RELATED: What's next in Giants' free-agency chase for superstar?
Unfortunately for the Giants, their efforts to recruit the reigning AL MVP fell short after Judge reportedly agreed to a nine-year, $360 million contract with the Yankees early Wednesday morning.
It wasn't the outcome they had hoped for, but it's clear the Giants pulled out all the stops in an effort to land Judge.