As he’s famous for, Johnny Damon would like the New York Yankees to go ahead and steal third base, too, after reaching their initial target.
The Yankees completed Part I of their offseason out of nowhere Tuesday evening, just before the deadline to add prospects to their 40-man roster to protect them from the Rule 5 Draft. Though New York only promoted one top prospect — Randy Vásquez — they also decided to use a coveted roster spot on someone who might have a bit more impact in 2023: first baseman Anthony Rizzo, whose deal the team announced shortly after it was reported.
Rizzo is more than just a cog in the Yankees’ machine. He was one of the very few constant forces and consummate winners on a roster that nearly broke down over and over again in 2022. Without him, it would’ve felt like the Yankees were resigned to take a significant step back next season, no matter what followed.
With him? It almost feels like the team is fated to bring back another big name in the coming weeks.
That’s what Damon felt, too, as he took to Twitter to remind everyone that Aaron Judge following Rizzo back to New York suddenly felt a bit more inevitable.
Yankees should follow Anthony Rizzo signing with Aaron Judge move
It’s not a lock just yet, but combine the timing and seeming ease of the Rizzo signing (just minutes after his rejection of the qualifying offer) with Hal Steinbrenner’s Tuesday comments on Judge, and it’s clear the Yankees would like to retain their core.
For the first time … ever, Steinbrenner revealed in the wake of the Rizzo signing that he’s had a few conversations with Judge in recent days, including a one-on-one meeting. In those discussions, he’s indicated both that he will not be outbid and that he’s pledged to build a contender around Judge, rather than allowing the slugger to weigh him down and blunt future contention.
That makes Rizzo’s return feel like the first part of a larger puzzle — a puzzle that, for the first time, feels like it could also expand beyond Judge.
No fan wants to get their hopes up, but there’s at least a minute chance that a “2009-esque” offseason is coming, something else Damon is very familiar with.