A few weeks back, when we estimated which Yankees would have a shot at the MLB All-Star Game in 2023, we sort of assumed Aaron Judge would be a lock.
Well ... not a lock to play. Assuming a Yankee will be healthy is the easiest way to make an ass out of u and me. We just figured Judge would clean up the fan vote, fly to Seattle, wave, and duck back into the dugout.
Apparently ... that's not even a guarantee, leaving the Yankees dangerously close to goin' barren at the All-Star Game, Royals style.
Judge easily cleared the first baseline, reaching the runoff election by placing among the top six vote-getters at the outfield position. Unfortunately, as his injury updates have gotten worse and more nebulous, Americans have been less and less inclined to smash that button and give him a vote.
In MLB's most recent voting update, Judge ranks third in the outfield chase, three percentage points behind Randy Arozarena and Mike Trout. If things hold here (with Yordan Alvarez, also injured, sitting 3% in back of Judge), the Yankees' right fielder will be ceremonially nominated to the game and might make the flight.
If Judge keeps slipping? Uh ... Gerrit Cole will probably make the All-Star roster, and that'll be that.
Yankees All-Star Voting Update: Aaron Judge might lose out on ceremonial roster spot
3% is a larger gap to make up than it actually feels like, in just a matter of days. Judge will probably sneak by and get the "smile and nod" treatment, angering Houston Astros fans in the process (Alvarez will also miss the proceedings).
Still ... it's an extremely bleak reality that a non-playing All-Star berth is something Yankees fans have to bank on to push their total from "one" to "two." Clay Holmes? Would be fun to see him make the squad two years in a row, but probably doesn't have the juice. Michael King? His recent slump has no doubt knocked him out of consideration when you realize how tough it is for non-closers to make the squad under any circumstances. Anthony Rizzo? Josh Naylor's just better right now.
So, get out the vote, Yankees fans! Who knows? Maybe, while he's in Seattle, Judge will get to field an injury question that's half as awkward as when Marly Rivera asked him about disappointing a hypothetical random child with his free agency decision.