New York Yankees: Boone shuts down rumors about moving Judge to first base

Andres Chavez
New York Yankees, Aaron Judge
Feb 19, 2020; Tampa, Florida, USA; New York Yankees outfielder Aaron Judge (99) catches a fly ball during spring training at George M. Steinbrenner Field. Mandatory Credit: Jonathan Dyer-USA TODAY Sports

Aaron Judge has a cracked rib and had a collapsed lung (undiagnosed in the first tests) that presumably dates back to a play in the outfield last September. There have been rumors about the New York Yankees wanting to move him to first base.

Apparently, that won’t be the case. Yankees manager Aaron Boone shut down the rumors and dismissed the notion of moving Judge from right field, where he proved to be one of the best in the Major Leagues last season.

Talking at the Michael Kay Show, the Yankees’ skipper said that “he has had a couple of unfortunate injuries the last couple of years, but moving him? Absolutely not… He is an elite defender and one of the game’s great players. Never a discussion to move him.’’

The 2017 Rookie of the Year is still recovering from his cracked rib. A recent CT scan showed slight improvement, and he will be re-evaluated in a couple of weeks. At the moment of suffering the injury, there were doubts regarding his opening day availability, but given that the season isn’t expected to start until June or July (if there is baseball at all) he could be ready from the beginning.

The Yankees have an elite outfielder in Judge

It would preposterous to move Judge from right field at this point while he still has his youth, range and athleticism. According to Fangraphs, he had a 7.6 defensive rating, a very good number that makes him an elite option.

In fact, judging by DRS (Defensive Runs Saved) Judge led not only the American League, but also MLB right fielders with 20, in a tie with Los Angeles Dodgers’ fellow slugger Cody Bellinger.

His phenomenal throwing arm would also be wasted in first base, not to mention that the New York Yankees have plenty of options there as well.