This offseason, the New York Yankees had a big case on the table: that of Aaron Judge, the face of the franchise who became a free agent for the first time in his career. After his storied season, the Yankees couldn’t afford to let him go, and they gave him reason to stay in the Bronx.
360 million reasons over nine years, in fact.
That said, beyond the money (the Yankees’ offer wasn’t the biggest on his table), Judge felt like a Yankees member, and ultimately wanted to stay all along. This is what he realized during the process.
Being named club captain clearly didn’t hurt either. After all, Judge is a guy who wants to leave a legacy, and to be part of a line of legendary players who have been named captain of the Yankees helps.
A line that includes guys like Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig and Derek Jeter, to name a few.
Speaking of Jeter, he actually chatted with Judge when the latter was a free agent. The #99 wanted to benefit from a little of the wisdom of the legendary #2 in order to know how to manage the process of autonomy.
After having paid him dinner, Jeter spoke to Judge again after signing his contract and told him that from now on, it was the outfielder who was going to pay the bill the next times. I confess that it made me laugh.
That said, Jeter isn’t the only one who influenced Judge. In fact, there is also one of his best friends in the Bronx who spoke to him every day: Anthony Rizzo.
Judge and Rizzo became very close following the latter’s arrival with the Yankees at the 2021 trade deadline, and the first baseman has repeatedly told Judge that he hopes to see him return to New York.
Rizzo also had a secret weapon at his disposal: his dog, which incidentally befriended Judge’s. The latter claimed (probably a little jokingly) that Rizzo had had it by the feelings by dint of reminding him that the two dogs could not be separated.
But beyond the dog’s story, just seeing Rizzo have been such a big part of bringing Judge back home demonstrates that the Yankees did the right thing to pick him up in 2021 and give him a new one. contract for the 2023 season.
By settling the case quickly, the Yankees turned Rizzo into an incentive to retain Judge.
Since his arrival in the Bronx, Anthony Rizzo seems to me to tick all the boxes of a TRUE member of the Yankees. He’s able to handle pressure, he’s a born leader and he doesn’t see himself as bigger than the team. And this, even if he is one of the best players in the line-up.
But beyond all that, Rizzo may be part of the reason Judge stayed home. And for this simple reason (which does not even take into account his very good performance on the field), the acquisition of Rizzo and the decision to keep him will have been excellent choices on the part of the organization.
- A name to watch next year.
- We must take inspiration from his career in Toronto.
- Minor signing in Toronto.
- Ronald Acuna Jr. will no longer play in a winter league.