Yankees’ Aaron Judge working at new position in case of ’emergency’

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The Yankees plan to have Aaron Judge feature in centerfield this upcoming season, but that may not be his long-term spot as his age continues to climb on the superstar. In the long term, the Yankees would prefer to have Judge play right field, where he can protect his body and prevent wear and tear.

In the meantime, the 31-year-old is keen on challenging himself and doing whatever it takes to win a championship.

The Yankees Love Judge’s Positional Flexibility

In fact, the Yankees had Judge playing first base on Thursday, but it was more of an emergency scenario than a realistic transition in the near future. Judge indicated that he always wants to be prepared if the opportunity arises, which would include injuries to Anthony Rizzo and DJ LeMahieu before they ever considered moving Judge out of centerfield.

“I always want to be ready to help the team,” he said, “if it’s playing center field or left field, anything I can do to help the team win.”

Of course, Judge signed a nine-year, $360 million deal to play an important position for the Yankees, not to mention his generational offensive production. Fortunately, the Yankees have plenty of support at first base, but it is not out of the question that he makes the transition in a few years when his athleticism drops off, and the Bombers want to preserve his offensive quality.

“I plan to be an outfielder for as long as I can, for as long as my contract lasts,” he said.

READ MORE: Yankees’ prospect coined the ‘lefty Aaron Judge’ has a chance to open eyes in spring training

Anthony Rizzo’s Future and Team Strategy

In fact, the Yankees are leaning heavily on 34-year-old lefty first baseman Anthony Rizzo to bounce back after a tough 2023 campaign.

Rizzo has since been cleared of any concussion symptoms that plagued him in the past, playing just 99 games last year, hitting .244/.328/.378. He hosted a 100 wRC+, including 12 homers and 41 RBIs. His numbers fell off a cliff after the injury took hold, but he wasn’t diagnosed until months after his symptoms continued, forcing the Yankees to supplement one of their best hitters.

Rizzo is entering the final year of a two-year, $40 million deal that includes a 2025 club option. The Yankees could pick it up, counting $17 million in luxury tax salary next year, but he needs to prove his worth before that’s even a consideration.

The most likely scenario is that the Yankees let Rizzo walk, allocate that money to Juan Soto, and elevate one of their prospects. Ben Rice is a young player who could transition full-time to 1B this season, so his development will be imperative to the Yankees’ long-term plans at the position.

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