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  • Derek McAdam

Should the Yankees Keep Aaron Judge?

By Derek McAdam

November 2, 2022

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While the Yankees’ season is officially over, it is now time for the biggest question mark of the MLB off-season: Does Aaron Judge remain a New York Yankee or does he select another team in free agency? Sadly enough, for Yankee fans’, this may be one of the hardest pills to swallow if Judge decides to leave in free agency, and may possibly be a tough pill to swallow even if the Yankees decide to keep him, barring a lucrative contract.


So let’s make the case for the Yankees both keeping the All-Star outfielder and also for letting him walk in free agency.


First, Judge is coming off a career-year in every sense of the word, hitting .311 with 62 home runs and 131 RBIs and leading the AL in almost every hitting category besides batting average. Judge not only was a force at the plate, but gave the Yankees 78 games in centerfield in addition to 73 games in right field. Judge carried the team through some of its slumps in the season and was able to play in 157 games for the Yankees during the regular season.


There is no question that Judge had one of the best statistical seasons that has ever existed. His magical season will likely give him an MVP award to add to his resume for potential suitors in free agency. The 30-year old is going to get a huge payday regardless of where he goes, and congratulations to him for that great accomplishment.


Here are the reasons why the Yankees should keep Aaron Judge. First, Judge has been the poster boy for the Yankees since his 2017 rookie campaign. Yankee Stadium has the "Judge’s Chambers” in the outfield and there are not many baseball fans in general that can say a bad thing about Judge (besides maybe him not playing for their favorite team.) Not many players in the league have such a positive reputation, but Judge is definitely one of those few.


Second, Judge has proven that he can play in the Bronx. Yes, I know exactly what you’re thinking. “Judge struggled in the post-season, and that’s the only thing that matters.” Yes and no. Yes, Judge absolutely had a sluggish post-season, but Judge didn’t have a huge slump at any point in the year, even when the entire Yankee team was slumping out of the All Star Break.. His batting average did decline during September in chase for home run No. 62, but he was still working plenty of walks. Getting on base is always a good sign. Overall, Judge is an elite hitter, and while he strikes out a lot, he can still produce at a high rate for the Yankees.


But here are some reasons why the Yankees may not want to keep Judge. First, Judge will be 31 at the end of April and will most likely demand a contract that will be the last contract he signs. The Yankees should not be willing to give in to this, considering a deal may be eight or nine years. That’s a lot of commitment to a player that is in his 30s and who plays the outfield.


Second, it is going to take a lot of money. The Yankees’ offer of seven-years, $213.5 million was not a bad offer. Judge bet on himself and ended up making the best of the situation. There is no question that he will get more than $213.5 million at this point, and may even potentially get an extra year or two. The Yankees already have two players that are making over $30 million per year and are still on the books for another few years. Adding a third player would make the cap situation worse, considering this is a team that has not accomplished the desired post season success under Aaron Boone.


For these reasons, I do not believe the Yankees should do everything they can to keep Judge, unless they can give him less years or trade away some players with larger caps to free up some space. I have no problem with giving him more money for a shorter-term contract, but Judge is probably not in a situation for that type of deal. Yes, it is going to be hard to watch Judge on a different team, especially over the next couple of years where he still still be able to produce.


But in the long term, this might be the best move for the Yankee organization. The Yankees should invest their money in multiple positions instead of putting all their eggs into one basket with Judge.

26 Comments


jjw49
Nov 02, 2022

As much as I want Judge to remain in pinstripes I have this uneasy feeling you might be correct in Judge moving on from the Bronx. If Yankees get rid of Hicks, Donaldson and Rizzo, Taillion, Gonzales, and Torres then maybe Judge resigns 7yrs.( you fIll in the $$$) I do not believe they will go to 8-10yrs to resign him so everybody relax, take a deep breadth and lets see how happy or pissed off Yankee fans will be this off-season.

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Cary Greene
Cary Greene
Nov 02, 2022

9% of Judges plate appearances resulted in a home run this season, but 65% of them came with the bases empty -- he hit 37 solo home runs. Michael Fishman or whomever bats Judge first all the time in a lineup that led MLB in Walks (620) and was 4th in OBP (.325) should be put in charge of the breakroom instead of making all of idiotic lineups that provide no consistency or continuity.


Aside from firing Fishman, Cashman and or Boone, I'd aruge that Steinbrenner should retain Aaron Judge, drop him in the lineup and separate him and Stanton with a very good left-handed bat. If that means Stanton has to play the outfield 4 days a week, then…


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Andy Singer
Andy Singer
Nov 02, 2022
Replying to

Wow, interesting to see just how differently Fangraphs and Baseball Reference judge leverage...probably different standards for WPA. And yes...at least they both came up with the same number of ABs. :-)


I actually think you and I aren't that far apart; my contention is that Judge's ability was properly maximized in the first half of the season, but that circumstances in the second half made his lineup position sub-optimal, and really that the lineup as a whole struggled so mightily that it didn't matter where Judge hit, he wasn't going to get enough RBI opportunities anywhere. I really wouldn't argue with Judge hitting 3/4 in a lineup that gave Judge more help.


The real root of the issue is that…

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fuster
Nov 02, 2022

perhaps those suggesting that the Yankees let Judge walk should show the details, including costs, for how Judge would be replaced

or should explicitly note the negative effect upon number of games likely to be won

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fuster
Nov 02, 2022
Replying to

99 wins per year


you wanna call that flushable?

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yankeesblog
Nov 02, 2022
  1. Yes, the Yankees should keep Aaron Judge and should not be outbid for him.

  2. There is no "cap" as you say. Its only that the Yankees choose to treat the CBT limits as if they were.

  3. It's easy to say that the Yankees should spread the money around on different positions but if you're going to say that name the players they should acquire. Otherwise it's just hand waving. If the solution is more Josh Donaldson/IKF trades then this is a really bad approach.

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cpogo0502
Nov 02, 2022
Replying to

Yes, Ridings. Forgot about him. He almost needed thoracic outlet surgery which has ended several careers. Phil Hughes? Don't know if we can count on him. I'm not a surgeon but I know enough medicine to know Ridings is at risk.

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