Ladies and Gentlemen, we have good news. Aaron Judge will be a New York Yankee for the remainder of his career!
(Pause for cheers and sighs of relief)
What a ride that was, huh? Early on, I was 75% positive he was going to the San Francisco Giants. Then I was 60% positive he was staying with the Yankees. After his comments on the betrayal he felt for that idiot Cashman, I was 90% sure he was signing with the San Francisco Baseball Giants. Tuesday night, I was 100% convinced by Jon Heyman that he actually was a San Francisco Giant.
The proof is here
I was a miserable bastard well into Wednesday morning when I saw the MLB alert, Aaron Judge has agreed to terms with the New York Yankees for nine years, $360 million at an AAV of $40 mil a year.
I was shocked and elated! I was hesitant to even believe it but it was true. Aaron Judge is a Forever Yankee.
We’ve lacked a forever Yankee for some time now. We had the Core Five (It’s Core FIVE, don’t ever disrespect Bernie Williams by calling it the Core Four) and really haven’t had a forever Yankee since. Brett Gardner was a good player and a career long Yankee but he’s not getting a plaque in Monument Park. The best comparison is that I like Brett Gardner in the same way Dad likes Roy White.
The Yankees also had a list of potential Forever Yankees but none have panned out for a variety of reasons, Robinson Cano, Phil Hughes, Joba Chamberlain, Greg Bird, Gary Sanchez, were all hyped to the moon early in their careers.
Aaron Judge is the Forever Yankee. A great ballplayer with Cooperstown potential. The Yankees couldn’t let him leave as a free agent. His all time 62 home run 2022 would have all been for nothing. Every single true Yankees fan’s world would stop every time Aaron Judge came to bat once he hit that 59th home run. At home, the game was always on and the whole family stopped to watch. Multiple times I was in my car, listening to the game on the radio. As soon as it was getting close to an Aaron Judge at bat, I was looking for a place to pull over and get the video feed loaded.
That would have all been for nothing had the man himself, one of the best owners in sports, the son of a legend who just became a legend in his own right, let’s give it up for Hal Steinbrenner!!!
All the praise in the world goes to Hal Steinbrenner. He lived up to his name, taking care of business, and closing the biggest and most important contract in Yankees history since Reggie Jackson.
Hal Steinbrenner is among the best owners in sports. He gives the Yankees baseball operations all of the resources it needs to build a powerhouse. Hal Steinbrenner is the CEO of the Yankees who stays out of baseball operations. I hope you, the reader, understand how important that is. Meddling owners muck up on the field side of operations.
Take Hal’s father, the Boss George Steinbrenner. As much as the Boss is revered, he did more damage to the Yankees by getting involved than he actually helped. George was hated for a period of time in the late 80s and early 90s because he was too involved.
The Mara family had taken some heat over the past decade for being too meddling to the detriment of the New York Football Giants. Jerry Jones is considered one of the worst owners in sports because he wants to run the team himself. I even know for a fact that Charles Wang would insist the New York Islanders call up his favorite players from Bridgeport, before they were ready, because he wanted to see his favorite players, regardless of whether it hurt the team.
Hal does none of that. Hal is a tremendous owner. He closed the deal he needed to close, keeping Aaron Judge a forever Yankee. He’ll go back to his desk, managing the business, and let Brian Cashman bungle it from there. But before we get to Cashman, let’s give Hal Steinbrenner one more big round of applause
(Seriously, clap for the man)
The man who should get no credit for any of this is Brian Cashman. Cashman bungled this negotiation from the start. In all fairness the 7 year, $213 million contract was below market for Aaron Judge. Cashman can claim it was a “fair offer” but was that really a fair offer?
You would think an offer of about 8 years, $264 mil ($33mil AAV) at the beginning of the season may have been accepted. If that was the case, the Yankees save about $7mil a season over the length of the contract.
Brian Cashman also destroyed any trust Aaron Judge had for negotiating when he told the media what the contract offer was despite Aaron Judge asking him not to do that. That incident clearly bothered Aaron Judge, he even mentioned in the Time Magazine article that was written about him. After that article came out, I was 90% convinced he was signing with the San Francisco Giants because of that incident. He felt disrespected so even if he loved the organization and the fans, how could he play for Cashman? Fortunately Aaron Judge was able to look past that but it was another major guffaw from Cashman.
I have to tip my hat to Aaron Judge’s agent. Judge’s agent played this perfectly. Making sure Aaron Judge was seen in San Francisco. Ensuring when the Time Magazine article was dropped which included Judge’s disgust with Cashman and his love for the Giants and how he wanted to play for the Giants as a child.
Masterminding Aaron Judge showing up in San Diego for the Winter Meetings, without notifying the Yankees, and making the San Diego Padres offer public, putting all the heat on the Yankees was brilliant. That agent deserves every bit of his cut of that $360mil.
What is the Yankees payroll going to be going forward? The Yankees have a lot of money wrapped up in Aaron Judge and Gerrit Cole. They have significant money wrapped up in Giancarlo Stanton and DJ LeMahieu. They have a lot of money owed to Josh Donaldson for this coming season. They have Aaron Hicks locked in at $10mil a season for the next 3 years. There is a lot of money on the books. The Yankees are going to need to be creative, I think we are finally going to see some Yankees prospects get real playing time these next few years to make some kind of effort to keep the payroll under the luxury tax threshold though I still think there will be wiggle room if need be.
The past few weeks were a wild ride for a guy who doesn’t enjoy roller coasters. I’m glad it is finally over. I am over the moon that Aaron Judge is a Forever Yankee. It’s a relief that the saga is over and we can look forward to not only 2023 but the next nine seasons. ALL RISE!