What the Aaron Judge tea leaves say about his Yankees future

Clues. That is what is on the market, since Aaron Judge is effectively on his option to graduating summa cum laude from the Derek Jeter college for saying many phrases whereas concurrently saying nothing in any respect. His representatives, in the meantime, make the CIA look like a chatty group.

So in case you are attempting for an early offseason learn on the place Judge may play subsequent, you might be principally diminished to tea-leaf studying, hunches and historical past. Before you set scorching water on the tea or throw chilly water on the theories, let’s attempt to be detectives to find out if the indicators to this point lean in direction of a Yankee reunion:

1. Judge is just not going to make a multi-hundred-million-dollar choice primarily based on the place his mates play. If that have been the case, then the Yankees may as effectively be as craven as the Knicks have been in enlisting Jalen Brunson’s father, Rick, as an assistant coach by naming Wayne Judge the affiliate hitting coach.

But signing Anthony Rizzo is, a minimum of for the Yankees, like sipping rooster soup when ailing — it might’t harm. Rizzo is buddy and confidant to Judge; somebody the slugger would need again to share the clubhouse and management. Remember that the Yankees traded for Tyler Wade in July and stashed him in the minors when his most discernible talent seemed to be pal of Judge.

The Yankees signed Rizzo to a two-year, $40 million pact. Could they’ve seen if having the compensation tied to rejecting the qualifying supply together with age (33) and a few again issues chilled his market? Could they’ve performed it out to see if the Astros rumors have been a plant to achieve leverage?

Aaron Judge (l.) celebrates with Anthony Rizzo during Game 1 of the Yankees' ALDS against the Guardians on Oct.  11, 2022.
Aaron Judge (l.) celebrates with Anthony Rizzo throughout Game 1 of the Yankees’ ALDS in opposition to the Guardians on Oct. 11, 2022.
Charles Wenzelberg / New York Post

Sure, however why? What is the least they may have gotten him for? Two years at $34 million maybe? Instead, they did what a big-market group ought to for one thing it needs/wants. And the Yankees wanted the lefty bat, fearlessness in huge video games and sound protection with inexperienced gamers about to inhabit the center infield. Plus, it signaled to Priority No. 1 that not solely is his pal again, however the group will make investments to chase a title.

2. Hal Steinbrenner stated he has spoken to Judge a number of instances since the postseason ended, together with as soon as in individual. He is just not delegating. The head man is telling the Judge to his face that he needs him again. And if he’s telling reporters that there’s loads of dough for Judge and to enhance the group, then Judge’s camp is aware of that, too.

Yankees owner Hal Steinbrenner looks on during a Paul O'Neill's number retirement ceremony on Aug.  21, 2022.
Yankees proprietor Hal Steinbrenner seems to be on throughout a Paul O’Neill’s quantity retirement ceremony on Aug. 21, 2022.
AP

Is a part of this a subliminal message from Steinbrenner to the business to not waste time as a result of the Yanks will simply outbid them? Maybe. But Steinbrenner has taken the Bronx criticism, significantly the booing at the Jeter ceremony, onerous. He is a lot extra measured than his father. Still, the relentless refrain that he’s low-cost and does not care is a coat of dust he’s having problem eradicating, to his chagrin.

The logical, MBA facet of Steinbrenner is aware of in the long run, a take care of Judge will in all probability be regrettable. Most followers aren’t going to calculate that. There is just get it finished or do not get it finished. As he did in 2022, Judge will promote a number of tickets, transfer a number of merchandise and be the face of Yankees promoting. So there’s a monetary offset plus a better path to short-term profitable by maintaining Judge. (How a lot may the Yanks need to spend on non-Judge items to compensate for his loss?)

Maybe that is all a sham designed by Steinbrenner to publicly start to construct an alibi for Judge’s departure — I met with him, supplied the moon and the captaincy and he nonetheless left. But this feels extra much like when Steinbrenner made his offseason about one participant — signing Gerrit Cole after the 2019 season, re-signing DJ LeMahieu after 2020 — and was laser targeted to that goal. Steinbrenner is often publicly reticent. But on this occasion, he’s on the file that retaining Judge is his obsession. Therefore, he has to grasp that failure to take action shall be his failure alone and deepen the animosity directed by the fan base. Would he actually threat that if he didn’t really feel he’ll maintain Judge?

Aaron Judge after hitting a home run in Game 5 of the ALDS against the Guardians on Oct.  18, 2022.
Aaron Judge after hitting a house run in Game 5 of the ALDS in opposition to the Guardians on Oct. 18, 2022.
Charles Wenzelberg / New York Post

3. Judge and his camp haven’t publicly dabbled with different groups. Maybe that’s occurring behind the scenes. Maybe it’s simply early in the course of — we aren’t seeing a Carlos Correa picture op in entrance of the ivyed partitions at Wrigley Field, for instance.

But in the event that they have been attempting to financially unease the Yankees or wished to extract anguish as a result of they have been nonetheless indignant that Brian Cashman introduced the seven-year, $213.5 million extension supply in the spring, then would not there be an image of a bearded Judge getting off a aircraft in California surfacing in 3-2-1 … ?

Conversely, if Judge’s objective actually is to remain a Yankee, then he is aware of to observe the Jeter edict — by no means even be linked speaking to a different group, in order to maintain the relationship with the followers as pure as potential. Judge is just not going to go away cash on the desk, as he confirmed by spurning the spring supply. Free company is at all times laced with twists, turns and surprises, so nothing is assured.

However, if Steinbrenner is basically prepared to pay in full for these 62 homers and Judge needs to remain, then do not the early clues — Rizzo’s signing, Steinbrenner’s direct involvement that places the bull’s-eye on the proprietor, the lack of something however rumors about different groups — all go in a single course?

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