Aaron Judge, the New York Yankees outfielder, is facing the most significant decision of his professional career. He must choose between staying with the team that drafted him and attempting to win another championship or exploring other opportunities. Judge has become a Yankees legend in various ways, and his future holds the fate of the franchise. It is crucial to discuss how vital he is to the team and what it means for the team’s future if this is his last season with the team.
Aaron Judge was drafted by the New York Yankees in 2013 and performed exceptionally well in the minor leagues, hitting 57 home runs, 217 RBIs, and an .842 OPS in four seasons across three levels. He made his major league debut in August 2016, and although he displayed potential, he had humble beginnings, finishing the season with only four home runs and ten RBIs, with a 44% strikeout rate.
However, the best was yet to come. Judge, along with other top prospects known as the “Baby Bombers,” inspired by the Yankees’ late 90s title teams, had a promising future. Judge led the team in 2017, and the Yankees reached the American League Championship Series (ALCS) for the first time since 2010. With Judge, Luis Severino, Gary Sanchez, and Brett Gardner, the team won 91 games and ushered in a new era of Yankees baseball. Judge had an incredible rookie season, hitting 52 home runs, winning the Rookie of the Year award, and finishing second in the AL MVP race.
However, 2018 and 2019 were injury-riddled seasons for Judge, as he only played 214 out of a possible 324 games, but still managed to hit a combined 54 home runs and 140 wRC+. The fans knew that Judge’s health was essential for the team’s success, and he became their leader over those two seasons. Unfortunately, back-to-back postseason eliminations left the fanbase heartbroken, as the team was built for success but never got over the hump.
Judge’s future with the Yankees is uncertain, as a long-term extension does not seem to be in the cards. If he decides to leave, the team’s future could be in jeopardy, and his legacy as a Yankee would be cemented. The team must weigh the risks of losing Judge against his importance to the team’s future success. It is now time for Aaron Judge to make a difficult decision, one that could shape his career and the future of the New York Yankees