There has been a lot of debate on how the Yankees will handle Aaron Judge’s long term future. Injuries have hampered him over the past few years, but he’s still the face of the franchise. Aaron Judge should be a Yankee for life
He’s one of the best players in baseball
Starting with the low-hanging fruit here. Everyone knows what Judge can do when he’s healthy. We’ve seen it this year. The guy hits mammoth home runs and gets on base at a nearly .400 clip. On top of that, he’s a great defender and has a laser for an arm. Those kinds of players don’t grow on trees.
Judge is the best position player the Yankees have, and it really isn’t a debate.
He’s not as injury prone as you think
Is Aaron Judge injury prone? Yes, he is. However, I think sometimes it gets overplayed. Last season, he was out two months after injuring his oblique on a swing. That was easily the most troublesome injury of his career. But the others aren’t the most concerning injuries you’ve ever seen.
Judge missed a good chunk of 2018 because he got hit on the wrist by a pitch. That can happen to literally anyone. Then, he broke a rib diving for a ball in a September game against the Angels later on in 2019. He played through it in the postseason, before it eventually flared back up in Spring Training this season. Biggest takeaway there is that the Yankees’ medical staff probably should’ve checked him out again once they got eliminated. Finally, Judge landed on the IL last week with lower body soreness, but claims he’s already 100% and begged the team not to make the move.
To summarize, there’s no denying Judge has had his share of injuries. But this isn’t the same as Stanton going down every 15 games when all he has to do is jog around the bases. Aside from the oblique, every Judge injury either wasn’t his fault or overly concerning. If Judge is a guy that only plays 100-110 games a season, then so be it. As long as he’s playing at an MVP level and healthy for the postseason, that’s fine by me.
Judge & the Yankees are the perfect marriage
This blog is obviously suggesting the Yankees give Judge a contract extension. At the same time, I’m not trying to say they should give him 10 years, $350 million. I’m aware that paying a 6’7, 280 outfielder big money into his 40’s is a bad idea. However, that’s also why I really don’t think it’ll come to that.
Teams are often hesitant to give players on the wrong side of 30 long-term deals nowadays. We’ve seen guys like Albert Pujols and Robinson Cano struggling in the latter years of big-money deals. Judge won’t be a free agent until he’s 31. I really don’t see an outside team sweeping him off his feet with an eight-year deal to pry him from the Yankees. It’s in both the Yankees and Judge’s best interest to keep him here.
In a perfect world, Judge signs a five-year extension to stay put into his mid-30’s. Instead of making Mookie money, the big guy will command less because of his inability to play 150+ games a year. He gets to stay with the Yankees and compete for championships, sign endorsements, and be one of the faces of baseball. The Yankees get to keep an MVP-caliber outfielder, sell a ton of tickets and #99 jerseys, and not royally piss off the fan base by letting the team’s most beloved player since Derek Jeter walk.
Maybe it’s wishful thinking, but I really think Aaron Judge should be a Yankee for life. At the very least, that’s what I hope.