The Yankees‘ Captaincy being filled by Aaron Judge represents the passing of the guard. From Jeter to Judge, two of the best and most loyal players to ever wear pinstripes, both will have led their team as the chosen representative when their careers are all said and done. There was no one else more deserving than Judge, and hadn’t been anyone else other than Judge that was even considered. He embodies what it means to be a Yankee, and his play on the field continues to speak for itself.
Though performance isn’t everything, the on-field product does have a say in the decision-making. Fortunately, Judge is both a phenomenal player and person, so this was an easy choice.
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Judge is THE guy, and that’s clear on and off the field:
He clobbered 62 home runs, leaving the long-lasting 61 hit by Maris in hindsight. His dominance on the field showed as he won his first (though should’ve been second, if not for a cheating little person) MVP. He has done everything right for this organization and was rewarded for his six years of solid production with a 9-year $360 million deal. A former ROY, HRD Champion (which means something to Pete Alonso), and a 3X Silver Slugger. He simply wins and knows what it means to put his best foot forward.
Hal Steinbrenner said, “We’re not done yet,” giving off an encouraging belief that the front office will be active these next few months before Spring Training. With all the chaos surrounding Carlos Correa, who’s a new New York Met, Judge remained the main target for Hal and co. No one for distracted, instead, they worked on building out a solid roster before getting their big target. By retaining Rizzo, bringing back Kahnle, and signing Carlos Rodon to a 6-year deal, it made it that much easier to bring Judge along and be like, “look what we’re working on.” Judge wanted to see this team do something different than they had in years’ past, and that’s not have these bumpers on the side that keep them from going above and beyond.
Yankees need to change the idea about them in recent years:
In years past, the Yanks have definitely been active in the market, but they’ve not been that usual “big dog” that they’ve been heralded as thanks to their long tenure of success in their history. The 27 rings make you want excellence, and the recent FA misses over the past few years doesn’t reaffirm that. However, this offseason could be different. Captain Judge has a great ring to it, and you know that his role in the clubhouse will only expand from here. Everyone on the team loves his attitude, demeanor, way he leads, and of course, having him in their lineup.
Judge will hopefully not be the last big name to come to New York over these next few seasons, but he certainly is the one that will welcome them with open arms. He’s now ready for business, and with his one huge contract out of the way, business is as usual. Though he may not post a season for the ages like he recently did, expect others to pick up the slack around him. Stanton is certainly not a .759 OPS-level player, Rizzo won’t bat sub .240 again, and a healthy DJ will add even more layers and talent to this lineup.
Judge should be able to do his work, even if it’s not a 1.100 OPS & 207 wRC+ year. Those numbers are legitimately Bonds level, and his 11.4 fWAR was the most in league history since the famed slugger. I have this sneaky suspicion that Judge will lead this team to success in the years to come, and with that C on his jersey, anything is possible.