Is Aaron Judge playing in the World Baseball Classic for Team USA?

Aaron Judge Press Conference
Aaron Judge Press Conference / Dustin Satloff/GettyImages

Aaron Judge, the newly-minted captain of the New York Yankees, has a lot on his shoulders entering the 2023 season, when he'll try to follow up a season for the ages while leading the most storied franchise in the game back to the World Series.

Needless to say, adding pressure before the season even begins probably isn't Judge's best path to 2023 success.

Though his teammate and Tampa Bay Buccaneers game buddy Nestor Cortes will be heading to spring training early to gear up for a spot in the World Baseball Classic, Judge won't be joining him, opting out of 2023's version of the global event.

Team USA, luckily, doesn't lack for firepower, even without the 2022 MVP taking his cuts.

Yankees' Aaron Judge skipping 2023 World Baseball Classic: Team USA Roster

With Judge on the shelf, USA's roster for the World Baseball Classic still includes the following stars in the outfield: Mookie Betts (LAD), Cedric Mullins (BAL), Kyle Schwarber (PHI), Kyle Tucker (HOU), and Mike Trout (LAA). Bryce Harper remains listed on the roster, but he's currently rehabbing from offseason elbow surgery, and will perhaps instead be an elite hype man option.

Judge could obviously help -- 62-homer freaks of nature don't grow on trees -- but that outfield is still stacked. Now, if Judge could learn to be a reliever over the next few weeks, there might be a spot in the bullpen available alongside David Bednar ... but we digress.

The Yankees are being judicious this offseason in determining who can and cannot compete for their country. Right-hander Luis Severino, whose health is always a question mark, was removed from the Dominican team's roster pool just last week. That probably didn't sit fantastically well, but was the prudent decision.

Though Judge's trademark "injury history" (GASP!) has mostly been overblown, featuring some freskish dings and bruises (and, uh, a collapsed lung), it's still best for the Yankees to keep him off his feet, with a full 162 grind (and a new salary) ahead in 2023.

Who knows whether Judge showed interest and the Yankees shut it down, or Judge just preferred to keep his normal routine intact. Either way, he'll be cheering from the sidelines (but not in as close proximity as Bryce Harper will be) when the US begins pool play on March 9.