Perspectives: What if? Aaron Judge and the Future
by Paul Semendinger
July 20, 2022
One reason some fans, experts, writers, and such do not want the Yankees to acquire Juan Soto is because signing him would prevent the Yankees (in theory at least) from resigning Aaron Judge.
That makes sense on many levels. Aaron Judge is great. Aaron Judge is a Yankee. Aaron Judge is, but most accounts, the "face of the franchise."
Of course, Aaron Judge is 30-years-old and Juan Soto is only 23-years-old. With that, one can make a strong case that for every year going forward that Juan Soto's numbers will be better than Aaron Judge's. If not that, it will almost definitely be the case when Judge is 35-years-old and Soto is just 28. Judge will be past his prime and Soto will be just entering his.
But, let's leave all those arguments aside.
Here's the things no one is asking...
What if Aaron Judge has no intention of resigning with the Yankees? What is that's not his desire? What if Aaron Judge has been waiting for a chance to go home and play in California or just play somewhere else? Or what if Aaron Judge feels slighted by the Yankees and wants to get out of town the moment he becomes a free agent?
A big part of all the talk about Aaron Judge is the fact that it is assumed that he wants to remain a Yankee. Does he? That's something no one truly knows.
If the Yankees get Juan Soto, they will have a great player. They can still make a run at Aaron Judge. If Judge wants to be a Yankee, he and Soto can be teammates. But if Judge leaves, the Yankees would have an ample (some might even say better) replacement.
If the Yankees don't get Juan Soto and Aaron Judge also departs... then what?
A similar question that must be asked, because it's something we also don't know the answer to is - What if the Yankees, for whatever reasons, don't have any intention of going higher than their initial offer to Aaron Judge? What if they don't feel, based upon their own data and knowledge of the player, that he is worth $35m a season for the next seven to ten years? Again, that's a possibility. The what?
There's a possibility that Aaron Judge doesn't wish to return.
There's also the possibility that the Yankees won't make a huge push for him.
These are two possibilities that no one is really discussing.
I believe there is a strong chance, and I might be the only one saying this right now, that for any number of reasons, Aaron Judge will not be a Yankee in 2023.
Time will tell. Call me crazy, but when he signs with another team next winter, remember that idea was first brought up here.