Former Yankees great reacts to Judge signing: “He was born a Yankee”

aaron judge, yankees
Sep 18, 2022; Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA; New York Yankees center fielder Aaron Judge (99) gestures after hitting an RBI double during the ninth inning against the Milwaukee Brewers at American Family Field. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

CC Sabathia and Aaron Judge are not just former teammates in the New York Yankees: they are friends. They shared many moments together since number 99 made his debut in 2016 until the southpaw retired in 2019. Even now, they remain in touch.

As Judge’s friend, Sabathia spoke about how happy he is that the former gets to remain a member of the Yankees for the long haul. This week, the reigning AL MVP agreed to sign a nine-year, $360 million contract to keep him in the Bronx for the rest of his career.

“I’m excited for him,” Sabathia said this week. “Especially the way the year started, with him getting an offer and then it being made public, and then him having to battle through that early part of the year. Coming out, hitting 62 homers, setting a Yankee record in home runs. It’s amazing. To be able to get to $360 million and stay home? I know everybody knows he’s from Northern California and it would have been going home going to San Francisco. But he’s a homegrown Yankee. He was born a Yankee. It’s good to have him back.”

A dream season for the future Yankees captain

Judge not only set the new American League (and Yankees) record for most homers in a single season, but he also fought for the hitting Triple Crown until the very last series. In the end, he slashed .311/.425/.686, scored 133 runs, and drove in 131.

Sabathia, who won a World Series with the Yankees in 2009, said he wasn’t that nervous about the threat of the San Francisco Giants signing Judge away.

“I was pretty confident just because he came up a Yankee. … Guys that have been in that organization and drafted to that organization, it’s all they know,” Sabathia said. “I thought it would have been more pressure if he had gone to San Francisco and got the big contract. I think staying with the Yankees and potentially being a captain and ending his career in New York takes a lot of pressure off of him, obviously. And they’re going to do everything they can to make sure they have teams that have a chance to win the World Series.”