Move over Mike Trout and sorry Shohei Ohtani, because Aaron Judge is now the face of Major League Baseball. And according to MLB Network host Harold Reynolds, just minutes ago, all three were very close to becoming teammates this spring. As Judge closes in on the single season home record for non-steroid freaks of nature who enlarged their heads during middle adulthood, the spotlight shines even brighter on him.
MLB Network is doing live look-ins every time the 6-7 slugger bats, as he’s just one home run shy of tying Roger Maris for the American League single season home run record of 61. It’s also the pre-Steroid era home run record.
As #99 was in the on-deck circle for his third at bat of the evening, Reynolds revealed that Aaron Judge was set to be traded to the Los Angeles Angels.
Taken to task by his teammates on the desk, in regards to this news, Reynolds said it was a done deal. Asked who the New York Yankees would get in return, Reynolds said he didn’t know. Queried about who the Angels had, value wise, to match Aaron Judge, Reynolds said the slugger’s impending free agency made his trade value lower than one might expect.
The former Seattle Mariners infielder then said he could be wrong about this scoop, doubting his sources, before then doubling down and saying he was in fact right.
Hmmmm. Ok, yeah, sure Jan.
But then again Reynolds works for the league’s official PR organ, so if he is wrong he would be held accountable, right? (Just kidding, no one in sports media is ever held accountable for reporting lies!)
Back during spring training, Judge turned down a contract extension from the Yankees which would consist of seven free agent seasons at $30.5 million per. That’s a $213.5M overall contract that would have started in 2023.
This season had a 1 year arbitration deal of either $17M or $21M, with the two sides settling at $19M.
Turning down a 8-year deal like that, Judge obviously believed in himself, and he took a major gamble on his own skills and abilities.
Obviously, it paid off, big time! Dude deserves a $250M guaranteed money deal now. Yes, a quarter of a billion dollars.
Following tonight’s 14-2 rout of the pathetic Pittsburgh Pirates, he’s currently boasting this triple crown slash line: .317 batting average, 60 home runs, 128 RBIs.
He’s just ahead of Xander Bogaerts, who sits at .315 ahead of tomorrow night’s nationally televised clash between the two bitter rivals. Yordan Alvarez of Houston has absolutely no chance of catching him when it comes to dingers. He has “only” 37 while the runs batted in chase is long decided too.
Jose Ramirez, of the Cleveland Guardians, is the next closest at 115. In other words, this is a historic season for the ages, and it’s hard to find hyperbole for it. “All Rise” indeed. And then some.
Paul M. Banks is the owner/manager of The Bank (TheSportsBank.Net) and author of “Transatlantic Passage: How the English Premier League Redefined Soccer in America,” as well as “No, I Can’t Get You Free Tickets: Lessons Learned From a Life in the Sports Media Industry.”
He has regularly appeared in WGN, Sports Illustrated and the Chicago Tribune, and he co-hosts the After Extra Time podcast, part of Edge of the Crowd Network. Follow him and the website on Twitter and Instagram.