Mike Lupica: Yankees never should have let it get here with Aaron Judge

Aaron Judge might very well stay, be a Yankee for life the way Lou Gehrig was, and Joe D., and The Mick, and Yogi and Whitey and Derek Jeter and Mo Rivera. But there is a chance now, and a real one, that he might walk right out one of the gates on 161st St., down the steps in front of Yankee Stadium, past the sign for Babe Ruth Plaza, and just keep going. And it never should have come to this.

The Yankees should never have put themselves in a position where Judge could put other teams into play, and that means even before he tied Ruth at 60 and then finally passed Roger Maris to get to 62 home runs; before he had one of the surpassing seasons that any Yankee hitter has ever had, with the 62 homers and the 131 RBI and the .311 batting average and an OPS of 1.111, on his way to the Hank Aaron Award as the best offensive player in his league.

Before we even find out if he wins the MVP award, he hits a Ruthian number of home runs, and wins an award named after Mr. Aaron.

Of course, nobody saw this kind of season coming from Judge. Not even Judge himself could have imagined numbers like these. No matter. Now his walk year might actually be a walk year.

And it never should have come to this, if Hal Steinbrenner and Brian Cashman don’t realize it by now their fans certainly do. We know what Steinbrenner and Cashman thought Judge was worth to them in the spring, $213 million over seven years. This is what they thought they could offer him against all that bad money they have put on the books in the recent past, starting with the day they absorbed a contract for Giancarlo Stanton even bigger than he is, and bigger than Judge is. It’s the Yankee version of Freakanomics.

Understand something: What has happened with Judge and the Yankees hasn’t happened in a vacuum. Now the Yankees are where they are with Judge. Even if they throw enough money at him and convince him to stay, it is going to cost them about $100 million more than they offered No. 99, the offer he turned down on Opening Day, one then broadcast by the Yankees for all the world to see and hear. Hey, Cashman seemed to be saying, we did our best. Sure they did. They offered to pay the biggest homegrown position player they’ve had since Jeter over $100 million less than they paid Gerrit Cole.

“We’re all disappointed right now that we can’t be talking about a contract extension today. Not now, but hopefully later,” Cashman said in April. “… Both sides would like to be here. I think Aaron Judge doesn’t want to be anywhere but here, and we’d love to make that happen as well.”

In the history of free agency, exactly one MVP — Barry Bonds …read more

Source:: The Denver Post – Sports


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