Nestor Cortes admits he tried to ask Aaron Judge about his free-agency decision

Aaron Judge with Nestor Cortes in the Yankees dugout.
Sara Molnick
Saturday December 17, 2022

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The most amazing player in the Yankees lineup for the 2022 season would have been Nestor Cortes had Aaron Judge not hit an American League record 62 home runs. The pitcher got a starting job right out of spring training, made his first All-Star team, became a sure thing for the postseason rotation, and even made Team USA for the upcoming World Baseball Classic.

Nestor Cortes made a career-high 28 starts and went 12-4 with an ERA of 2.44. He even got two votes for American League Cy Young, which put him in eighth place. He also pitched 158 1/3 innings, which was his MLB career high.

In an interview with YES Network’s Meredith Marakovits, Nestor Cortes told:

“I guess it’s no secret that this was an amazing season for me and I think for anybody who could have thrown what I did this year. I think anybody would have been happy with the success that I had.”

Nasty Nestor was right. Even though the Yankees hope that free agent Carlos Rodon will be a big improvement to their rotation next year, Cortes remains an important part of their rotation.

Nestor Cortes also spoke about how he wants to get better. He said that the groin injury he had in the playoffs was no more.

“I think the biggest hurdle was to get to 100-plus innings and I think this go-around is to get to 200 innings. That’s going to be my biggest goal, to pitch more innings than I did last year. Obviously, try to be as healthy as I can for the full year, and I think everything else will come. Whether it’s the ERA (and) lowering it or striking out more people or allowing less baserunners on, I think that all comes in hand with being healthy. I think if I’m healthy, I’m able to do that again.”

Aaron Judge’s free agency was the talk of baseball until he finally signed an extension with the New York Yankees. Before Judge signed the contract, almost no one knew if he would stay in the Bronx or not. Even the best player on the Yankees, Nestor Cortes, couldn’t get anything out of Judge.

Nestor Cortes tried to know where Aaron Judge was heading

A few days after Judge re-signed with the Yankees, Nestor Cortes told YES network about his failed attempt to get information from the power hitter.

Everyone who liked the Yankees wanted Aaron Judge to stay with the team. So, both for him and for all Yankees fans, Cortes sent Judge some not-so-subtle hints to try to get him to tell him something. But he failed, which made him sad.

“I was giving pointers to see if he would give me anything. If he was playing poker, I couldn’t tell the hand he was playing. It was fun to be around him,” confessed the starting pitcher.

Nestor Cortes and his fiancee were in Tampa when this happened. He texted the slugger to find out what he was doing the next night. But Judge told the pitcher that he and his wife would be at the Bucs game. Cortes too went to watch the Bucs game with the AL MVP. There, he wanted to know what Judge was planning. And somehow, he failed.

Judge deserves the big contract, feels Cortes

Even though Nestor Cortes couldn’t get Aaron Judge to tell him anything, the slugger did sign with the Yankees a day and a half later. The pitcher talked about how happy he was to have his teammate back and how great he had been over the years.

He said that the power hitter was a special person who deserved the contract. He also admired Judge for cheering his teammates when they were having a hard time.

Do you think Aaron Judge will be the next Yankees captain, given how great he is? Leave your comment below.

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