Unfortunately, the ethical standards of journalism prevent me from accepting any contributions, or gifts as a thank you for my work, so for those of you looking to Venmo me some beer money for my part in the New York Yankees overpaying Aaron Judge, all I ask is that you make a donation to a charity of your choice. In case you missed it, Judge is dealing with a mild hip strain, and Aaron Boone is biding his time to see whether the AL home-run king needs to go on the injured list.
The outfielder inked a nine-year, $360 million deal over the offseason, and didn’t even make it through April unscathed. To be fair, I’m not rooting against Judge — I’m rooting against the Pinstripes. Do you know how he hurt his hip? Sliding trying to steal third base on his 31st birthday on Wednesday. At least that’s what the speculation is, because the next day he was pulled after striking out twice, and hasn’t seen the diamond since.
“In the grand scheme of things and big picture, we do feel like we got good news on it,” Boone said when asked about Judge’s diagnosis.
He’s right. That is good news. It’s not like Judge needs hip-replacement surgery. It’s just a mild strain to the part of the body that’s most readily referenced when making fun of a player (or your buddy) for being old. Never mind that the slugger is currently slashing below his career average on a team that’s two games over .500, good for fourth in the AL East, 3.5 games out of second and third place, and eight back from Tampa.
While it’s extremely early — we haven’t even played 30 games yet — and the Yankees will assuredly go on a run, the Judge contract is lingering in the air like a fart no one wants to claim. (Don’t worry, Hal Steinbrenner will blame it on Brian Cashman, like he probably does with all the odorous gas that leaks out in the owner’s box.)
I’m sure if you ask Yankees fans about Judge, they’ll feed you some bullshit along the lines of “If I could do it all over again, I wouldn’t change a thing. The memories from that 62-home run season are worth every penny of Judge’s $360 million deal.” And you know what? They’re right — which is the whole joke. Once you drop Illmatic, the only direction from there is down.
Judge’s 2022 MVP campaign was absurd. He hit the leather off the ball. He had the best contract season in the history of contract seasons across any sport. He played so well that it made Roger Maris Jr. weep, essentially guaranteeing the Yankees had to overpay him. The ending to the storybook season was a sweep at the hands of Houston and another ringless year in New York.
How quickly Judge’s contract turns into an albatross, I don’t know. It’s really dependent on health, and that’s been a crapshoot throughout Judge’s career. For right now, though, this could not be going any better, because it couldn’t be going any worse for Yankees fans.