Is Aaron Judge Really the New Derek Jeter?
Portland Trail Blazers guard Damien Lillard gave Aaron Judge the ultimate compliment, asking him about being the “new Derek Jeter.”
Lillard and Judge were on an Adidas Instagram Live chat called “The Huddle” on Thursday. Judge spoke highly of Jeter, saying that he “paved the way.” Judge also went on to say that Jeter continues to check in during Spring Training and the season and that he would like to be that way after he is done playing.
But is Judge really the new Jeter?
Lillard said that although Judge did not fill his shoes as a shortstop, he came in after Jeter retired and took over the fanbase, which is extremely accurate. Since his 2017 breakout season, he has been a fan favorite and has a section in Yankee Stadium entitled “The Judge’s Chambers.” Judge is even liked and appreciated by fans that are not even Yankee fans, which exemplifies how respectable of a player he is.
In comparison with Jeter, Judge seems to be the one player on the Yankees that if Brian Cashman decided not to re-sign him, Yankees fans would be calling for Cashman to resign instantly, even if he was dealing with a history of injuries. Cashman wanted to move on from Jeter in 2010, as he preferred Rockies’ shortstop Troy Tulowitzki. Even Cashman understood that Jeter had to remain in pinstripes for the rest of his career.
The same idea goes for Judge. Didi Gregorius was arguably the second or third most popular Yankee on the team. He was a fan favorite and kept active social media accounts during his time in the Bronx, most notably his Twitter. But Gregorius was never a staple to the team. His leadership was incredible and he was an excellent teammate, but the Yankees did not feel obligated to give him an extension. They may feel very obligated to give Judge that extension.
Overall, Lillard was right about his comments regarding Judge. He did not say that Judge was going to be as great as Jeter, but said that he is as popular as the former captain. After all, Judge is more than likely in the running to become the next team captain.