Aaron Judge Signs With the Yankees

According to Jon Morosi, Aaron Judge has signed with the New York Yankees. Judge will sign a 9-year deal worth $360 million. All indications were that Judge ultimately wanted to stay in the Bronx, and this deal will keep him there for the remainder of his career. There are also rumors that once the deal is official, Judge will receive the title of “Captain.” He would be the first captain of the Yankees since Derek Jeter.

Aaron Judge’s Career

Aaron Judge was originally drafted by the Oakland Athletics in the 31st round of the 2010 MLB draft. They failed to reach an agreement and three years later the New York Yankees drafted him in the first round. Judge made his way through the Yankees’ minor league system before making his Major League debut on August 13th, 2016. He struggled out of the gate, only hitting .179/.263/.345 with four home runs and a 61 OPS+. He made the Major League roster out of spring training in 2017 and proceeded to have one of the best rookie seasons of all time. In 155 games that year, he hit .284/.422/.627 with 52 home runs and a 171 OPS+. His efforts were rewarded with an AL RotY award, a Silver Slugger, and being named runner-up for MVP.

Judge continued to be a consistent producer for the Yankees over the next four seasons as he never had an OPS+ under 140. From 2018-2021 Judge carried a line of .279/.378/.539 with 102 home runs and a 147 OPS+. This was, however, over only 390 games as he went through a bit of an injury-prone spell from 2018-2020. He missed 142 games in that time frame, but in the two seasons since, he has played no less than 148 games. 2021 was a bounce-back season for Aaron Judge and saw him hit .287/.373/.544 with 39 home runs and a 149 OPS+. This laid the groundwork for the outstanding 2022 that was yet to come.

Judge had one of the best individual seasons of all time in 2022. He hit to the tune of .311/.425/.686 with 62 home runs and a 211 OPS+. Those 62 home runs were enough to break the AL single-season home run record of 61, previously held by Roger Maris. How long did Maris hold that record? 61 years. Outside of breaking records, Judge led MLB in runs (133), home runs, RBI (131), OBP, Slug, OPS (1.111), OPS+, and total bases (391). All of this helped Aaron Judge be voted AL MVP for the first time.

Aaron Judge is a force to be reckoned with. Now that he is officially back with the New York Yankees, it will be interesting to see if they make any more moves to shore up their lineup that mostly floundered outside of Judge. I would not expect to see another 62-home-run season from Judge, but crazier things have happened in this great game that we know and love.

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Players mentioned:

Aaron Judge, Derek Jeter, Roger Maris