NEW YORK ( Associated Press) – Aaron Judge took endless pictures like it was a wedding. And in a way it was: He was committed to the New York Yankees for the rest of his baseball life.
Judge posed for photos with his wife, relatives, Yankees officials and even Derek Jeter and Willie Randolph and discussed the $360 million, nine-year contract and owner Hal Steinbrenner’s decision to name him the 16th franchisee in baseball history. Key – The first since Jeter’s retirement.
“It’s a family. The fans are family,” he said as he considered joining Lou Gehrig, Joe DiMaggio, Mickey Mantle, Jeter and Mariano Rivera as lifelong Yankees. “To be able to have the opportunity to build this bond with everybody is what matters.”
Judge was at his parents’ California residence when the deal was finalized in the early hours of December 7. With San Francisco and San Diego also interested in Judge, Steinbrenner interrupted a vacation, stopping on a highway between Milan and the French border, at 3 a.m. California time to chat with Judge.
“He sent me a message asking what was blocking the conversation and what was needed to unblock it. We spoke quickly,” Judge said.
Steinbrenner increased New York’s offer from eight to nine years.
By the final day of the opening, Judge turned down an offer from the Yankees worth $213.5 million for seven years through 2029. struck up a conversation and invited Mali to his residence in Tampa, Florida.
“In one of our conversations two weeks ago, I told him, ‘As far as I’m concerned, you’re not a free agent. You’re a Yankee. And we’ve got to do whatever it takes to keep it that way, Steinbrenner said.
Judge was also not aware of reports about a possible signing with the Giants: “I was on the flight, so I was left out of everything that was happening around me.”
Judge, the reigning American League MVP, will receive $40 million per year after breaking a tour-high 62 home runs, the right to veto any trades and be assigned a hotel suite on the road.
Judge said, “I have an opportunity to continue something that the Yankees are strong at, that is a legacy.” “I have the opportunity to continue my legacy with the striped uniforms, in the best World Cup city, in the best baseball city, in front of the best fans.”
New York had six captains in the Steinbrenner era: Thurman Munson (1976–79), Greg Nettles (1982–84), Willie Randolph (1986–88), Ron Guidry (1986–89), Don Mattingly (1991–95) and Jeter. (2003–14).
“Not only a great ballplayer, but a great ambassador for baseball and the New York Yankees for the former captains.