Aaron Judge’s home-run record to help Yankees persuade the slugger to stay

aaron judge

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A failed offer prior to Opening Day and a historic season both give Aaron Judge leverage in any contract negotiations. He will have many suitors with big cash offers and it is something that can put the Yankees on the backfoot. But a home-run record may turn out to be a factor in persuading Judge to stay with the Yankees.

Money will, of course, be a big factor in sports contracts. However, the Yankees have something that they hope to persuade Judge to stay. It is their focus on offense. For decades, they have been the best hitters. And they expect Aaron Judge to consider how good is his current team for him before considering a move to anywhere else.

Aaron Judge is the bookies’ favorite to finish with 65 home runs this season, a record that goes past Roger Maris’ 1961 milestone. As the Yankees head to Milwaukee this weekend, everyone is eager to see him the historic home run. Judge’s teammates can’t wait to celebrate with No. 99, but there isn’t a single Yankee who hopes he does it on the road. Not that Judge couldn’t hit five wild fastballs in three games. He is focused right now that every at-bat is a must-see.

However, the Brewers are not the Red Sox. Pitcher Corbin Burnes has already hinted at this when he wanted the slugger to slow down in Milwaukee. They don’t have a strategy to challenge Aaron Judge at America Family Field and no reason to do so. To keep their playoff hopes alive, they’ll pitch around him for the rest of the series.

The Brewers are 1.5 games behind their third wild card spot, so it would be nice for manager Craig Counsell to claim that the New York slugger won’t overwhelm his team. But he’d probably get smoked like Sox manager Alex Cora did this week at Fenway Park.

So, Aaron Judge is likely to return home with 58 or 59 HRs, which is two or three less than the American League’s single-season record. He has to wait until the home stretch before throwing a party. Hal Steinbrenner will have to use everything he has to keep the big man on the Yankees for the rest of his career.

Money is an enticement and Michael Kay was right when he said the other day that the Yankees need to be so good that Judge doesn’t want to go anywhere else. It’s not crazy to think that Steinbrenner will have to offer $100 million more than their last offer. The Giants are preying too and probably going to be the second-highest bidder.

But even if that happens, the Yankees might still need help. Judge seeing the chaos of a record-setting blowout after hitting his 62nd home run would be a strong reminder of how great New York is. No city goes crazy like New York City.

Aaron Judge should also not forget Darryl Strawberry, who left the Mets for Los Angeles in 1991. However, the home-run maestro returned to play with the Yankees and once famously said that leaving New York was the biggest mistake of his career.

For a player like Judge, who loves a lot of competition, New York City provides the best ambiance to become a good leader in the dugout. Fans consider him a cult hero. Yankee Stadium has a better home-run record than Oracle Park. In terms of the HR park factor, the ballpark is ranked 14th in the major leagues. San Francisco is 29th.

Not that Aaron Judge needs help from porches that are too small. Most of his blasts go more than 400 feet. They show how powerful and angry he is. But the right and right-center parts of the Stadium make it easy for Steinbrenner to say, “We can help you go after Barry Bonds.”

It’s a good selling point: in 2023, after Maris is out of the way, the slugger can target Bonds’ 2001 record.

It’s not impossible to think of Judge as the all-time HR champion for a single season. If he can hit 64 or 65, Aaron Judge can catch up to Bonds’ score of 73. Even if there are two or three more home runs to right-center at Yankee Stadium, the Giants can’t make that claim.

The problem is that the Yankees don’t know what’s in Judge’s heart. This includes Steinbrenner, general manager Brian Cashman, and president Randy Levine. Other than wanting to win a championship, the slugger has kept his motivations to himself.

In reality, no one in charge of the Yankees knows if Judge wants to come back or, if he does, what it will take to make that happen.

If money is the only reason, Steinbrenner is to make a decision. It may see one of the most aggressive biddings in MLB. He can outshine the Giants in money. But if the cash-rich Dodgers enter the fray, the Yankees may find it very tough to compete.

What if Aaron Judge wants money and the promise of multiple championships well into his 30s? If that’s the case, the Yankees had better have a great October. Another early exit could make Judge feel so bad that he would look for a ring somewhere else.

In 2023, Judge will be 31 years old. Like him, his wife Samantha is also from California. They were sweethearts in high school in the small town of Linden, and they met again at Fresno State. It makes sense that they would want to raise a family in a place they already knew. If this is the case, Aaron Judge may love to get back home.

But that’s just one possible case. At the moment, Judge is a real Yankee. If you peel back the layers of his mind, you’ll find a strong desire for a Yankees championship. That’s more important to Judge than any record for home runs.

Also, being named captain of the Yankees, which will happen if he stays, is a big deal. There are many big stars, such as DiMaggio, Berra, and Jeter, who started and ended his career with the Yankees. Steinbrenner must be hoping that their greatness inspires Judge to stay happily in New York.

Do you think Aaron Judge will remain a Yankee? Will the Giants or Dodger entice him away?

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