The market for Aaron Judge in free agency isn’t exactly a robust one because his suitors are limited, but there will be demand outside of the New York Yankees. There are a handful of big market teams with the ability to spend for a talent like Judge, regardless of the years and money.
But Judge has always felt destined to remain in pinstripes. He’s been saying he wants to be here for life since last year. Though owner Hal Steinbrenner and general manager Brian Cashman did their best to pay the absolute cheapest price for the slugger, their plan blew up spectacularly when Judge put forth the greatest contract year campaign of all time.
Steinbrenner’s been adamant he won’t be out-bid for Judge. Cashman revealed the Yankees made another offer to him since the 2022 season ended. There’s a rumor going around that there may or may not be a nine-year, $337 million deal on the table. Now we’re talkin’.
Aside from that, Judge has left a trail of hints that he’s probably going to return. It all started when he attended the New York City Marathon to support his wife, Samantha, who was running in the event. That didn’t seem like much of anything because it was shortly after the season ended and participating/attending a national event hardly suggests anything … but what’s happened since has led fans to believe the Yankees will not be left in the dust in free agency.
Judge’s most recent celebrity moment came in the form of an appearance on The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon. Tell us … do departing free agents do a skit like this to surprise Yankees fans and make their day?
Aaron Judge is leaving clues that he will remain with the Yankees
Look at those fans losing their minds when they see him. Baseball players are hardly recognized/revered in this manner … unless, of course, you’re an icon or approaching legendary status. Judge’s 62-home run campaign played an integral role in solidifying his New York stardom, thus making him more of a national/international figure. The Yankees know losing that would be far more detrimental to their bank account than anything else.
Additionally, Judge may have left some other hints about his potential return. On Thursday, when he accepted his AL MVP award on MLB Network, perhaps fans missed this minor detail.
Judge has remained clean shaven throughout the offseason. He was at the NYC Marathon, and he was on television with baseball fans across the country watching the league’s final awards ceremony. Not saying we like the facial hair policy, but this is what Yankees look like! And remember we saw bearded Judge last offseason?
He had no facial hair for the Fallon skit, too, but that was probably more of a requirement so there’d be a more universal recognition of him among the fans that were pleasantly gifted the surprise.
And finally, after his MVP win, he sent a message to his family, friends, teammates and fans to thank them all for the support throughout the year. The Yankees highlight reel that accompanied the message was set to his walkout music, “Hello” by Pop Smoke, which features, what one could interpret, a very telling line.
“I’m the King of New York.” You might say that capping his MVP season with the song that characterized his journey throughout 2022 might be a no-brainer, but the conclusion of this year and the acceptance of the MVP award marked a technical “end” to his tenure in the Bronx because he’s officially not a Yankee at the moment.
He’s not acting like it, though. Neither are the Yankees. Isn’t that all the information we need before a deal becomes official?