On Monday night at the Tampa Bay Buccaneers-New Orleans Saints game in Florida, Nestor Cortes Jr. represented all Yankees fans — and not just because, in a sea of super-athletes, he kind of looks like a normal guy.
Cortes ended up in Aaron Judge’s entourage at the game, standing on the field pregame next to the 2022 MVP, who was repping Mike Evans in return for Evans sporting the No. 99 earlier this season.
Judge’s free agency appears to be going down to the wire, depending on who you’re listening to. Brian Cashman and Giants boss Farhan Zaidi both communicated that they’d exchanged multiple, fluid offers with the right fielder’s camp in recent days. Buzz at the Winter Meetings indicated Judge was en route to San Diego Tuesday, but Cashman seemingly had no idea about any of that, and the report was later clouded by Joel Sherman, Bob Nightengale and Jon Heyman (the holy trinity).
Amid all the chaos ahead of a possible decision … Wednesday? Earlier? … Cortes was by Judge’s side asking the same question as everybody else.
He was asking it for another friend, though. Definitely not curious himself. No way.
Nestor Cortes wants Aaron Judge to tell him if he’s returning to the Yankees, just like the rest of us
Cortes surely has more access and knowledge than the average fan, at the moment, and it can’t be a bad sign that he was spotted in Tampa (where Judge has met with Hal Steinbrenner earlier this offseason) with a clean-shaven No. 99.
As for the rest of us? We were left putting the puzzle pieces together based on Judge’s extremely confusing group of pals for NFL Monday.
Nestor was there. That’s good. Mike Tauchman was there. That’s … bad? He was a Yankee, sure, but he was more recently a Giant. Now he plays in Korea? Michael King was there. That’s good! Yankee for life.
Corey Kluber? Come on, man, what is that?!
Judge’s decision is looming almost as large as the man himself, towering over Nasty Nestor on the turf.
If he departs the Bronx, he’ll create an immediate hole on the Yankees’ roster, and Brian Cashman had better hope Carlos Rodón and Bryan Reynolds are still available.
If he stays? Well … Brian Cashman had still better hope Carlos Rodón and Bryan Reynolds are still available.
Clock’s ticking, and even those closest to Judge appear to be getting a little stir crazy about the whole thing.