About the Off-Season: Welcome Back or Vamoose, Part Three
by Tim Kabel
October 30, 2022
I began this series with Brian Cashman and moved to Aaron Boone. I'm sure no one was surprised that I want the Yankees to be like my Christmas roast, Booneless. By the way, those remarks were not taken out of context.
I will now begin working my way through the roster. I believe all the coaches should and will return next year. My only suggestion would be to hire a more experienced, old-school bench coach, in the mold of Don Zimmer. However, I doubt Boone would listen to him, whoever he might be, and it would probably just be frustrating for everyone, including the fans. The only possible exception might be his father, Bob Boone. Aaron might listen to his dad. If he doesn't, Bob can take his gum away.
By the way, on Friday night, Rob Thomson, the manager of the Phillies, who lost out on the Yankees' managerial job to Aaron Boone, did something that Aaron Boone could not do this postseason. He beat the Houston Astros in Houston. Well, Boone couldn't do it anywhere, but Thomson did it in Houston, which is harder. Oh, the roof on Minute Maid Park was closed. Never mind.
The only member of the coaching staff who should not return is Chad Bohling, the director of mental conditioning, who thought it was a good idea to send out a motivational video of the 2004 Red Sox to this year's team prior to the Yankees' last game against Houston. He can go.
I will start with the most important and obvious player. The Yankees absolutely, positively have to re-sign Aaron Judge. There is no question about it. Ever since I was a kid, I would hear that the Yankees were going to get a certain player. When anyone asked why, the answer was, "They're the Yankees." If they lose Aaron Judge to another team, they will forfeit the right to say that. They will be just the same as any other team. There will be no mystique or aura or anything else attached to the franchise if they lose this player.
Aaron Judge is a homegrown Yankee. He worked his way up through the farm system and he has been embraced by the city and the fans. It seems to be mutual. The Yankees established the Judge's Chambers in right field very early on. My friend Roger, as a retired state prosecutor, felt that he should be allowed cart blanche access to that area. It didn't happen. Although, the wig would have been an upgrade.
Aaron Judge is the best player on the open market this off-season. He just put up a season for the ages. He is forever tied to Yankees' history. He is one of three men to have hit 60 or more home runs in one season in the American League. The other two are Babe Ruth and Roger Maris. Neither of them finished their careers with the Yankees. The same thing should definitely not happen with Judge.
The Yankees have the money to sign Judge. They need to sign Judge. He should be a Yankee for his entire career. Right now, he is 30 years old, and he is one of the best players in the game, if not the best. He will be the MVP this season. He has 220 career home runs. If he remains healthy, he could hit more than 500. He would definitely go to the Hall of Fame. All those things need to happen in a Yankees' uniform.
The negotiations for a contract in spring training did not go well. That may be due to the abbreviated period of time due to the lockout. Regardless, Judge's feelings may have been bruised. I doubt they were bruised irreparably. The Yankees cannot be outbid. They need to make an extremely competitive offer, and then, if someone makes a better offer, they need to beat it. Hal Steinbrenner may purse his lips when he writes the check but, if he thinks about how proud his father would be, he'll be fine. The financial package is only part of it.
Hal needs to come down and meet with Judge personally, along with Brian Cashman. Judge needs to see how important he is to the franchise. I firmly believe one of the reasons the Yankees reconnected with Derek Jeter this year and had that special night for him was to bring him back into the Yankees' family. I think he will be asked to speak to Judge about being a Hall of Famer and a lifetime Yankee. A few of the current Yankee players have suggested that if Judge returns, he should be named captain. That should definitely happen. That conversation should occur with Jeter in the room. I think the notion that he would likely be the only player ever to wear number 99 in team history would appeal to Judge. He has talked about wanting to be a lifetime Yankee. If he is presented with both a tremendous financial package and the commitment and symbolism that will cement his legacy as one of the cornerstones of the franchise, I believe he will be back. I can't imagine a world in which only Aaron of, Judge, Boone, and Hicks, who will not be back next year, is the only one who should be.
Verdict: Welcome Back.