Behold! A take you would’ve expected from the Yankees media if Hal Steinbrenner had let Aaron Judge get away, published even after Steinbrenner reportedly closed the deal with Judge all the way from Italy.
Didn’t expect our jaws to drop a second time after the Judge re-signing news arrived in the wake of Arson, but Daily News icon Bill Madden’s take on the whole thing certainly knocked the ol’ jaw bone off kilter.
First came Buster Olney’s take that the Yankees “surrendered” to Judge, even though we all know the Yanks would’ve been flambéed if they’d lost their right fielder, which seemed to be somewhere between a possibility and a foregone conclusion on Tuesday night.
Then, in that take’s wake (Take Wake!), Madden brought out the heavy artillery on Wednesday afternoon, calling Steinbrenner “beleaguered” and “resigned” and outright dumb for keeping his generational talent in-house.
Everyone knows the Yankees still have a ways to go here. Everyone knows three $300 million players is a lot of $300 million (the most any team has ever had in MLB history!). But in the era of Steve Cohen, Steinbrenner is just keeping up with the joneses here with his most important player, and has cash left over to absorb potential poison pill Judge seasons — which are coming — in 2028 and 2029.
Yankees owner Hal Steinbrenner “dumb” for signing Aaron Judge?
It’s almost like this lede was reserved for a piece about how Steinbrenner fumbled a superstar and let him walk to San Francisco, then lightly adapted when everyone realized his biggest crime was “maybe losing his own money to make everyone happy.”
Judge will be the captain of the Yankees, in all likelihood. Judge has an outside shot at 500 home runs and the Hall of Fame. Judge will be the No. 1 marketing asset … ever. If he’s diminished in 2027 — and he likely will be! — then Steinbrenner’s just going to have to absorb that.
There’s a reason he Mariano Rivera’d this one all the way from the White Lotus in Italy. He knew he couldn’t lose this singular force.
Madden is a Baseball Hall of Famer, an iconic New York journalist, and an old-school voice from an era where big money wasn’t spilled quite so often.
MLB’s newest collective bargaining agreement has actually injected cash flow into the game, as well as given power to the players. Sure, Steinbrenner would’ve loved to spend less, but if he lets the deal hamstring him, that’s his own fault and has nothing to do with the lump sum.
For once, it seems he had his priorities straight. Madden still does not.