Aaron Judge announced his return to the Bronx earlier this year by signing a mega nine-year extension contract worth $360 million. Subsequently, Hal Steinbrenner transferred captainship reigns on the slugger’s shoulders. While Judge was hoping to accomplish the unfinished business, the 2023 season humbled him significantly.
In his very first season as the team’s captain, Aaron Judge saw his colleagues get kicked in the teeth while he sat on the sidelines due to a toe injury. Judge made every effort to salvage the damage. But there was only little a half-healed man could do. Nevertheless, numbers show how the slugger was on his way to having another 2022 freakish season if it wasn’t for the toe injury.
Aaron Judge Tops Offensive Charts In Only 106 Game Appearances This Season!
Aaron Judge’s impact on the New York Yankees offensive lineup was underestimated prior to the 2023 season. The season showed how the Bronx Bombers are over-reliant on their captain. Aaron Judge began the season on a high by slamming a homer in his very first at-bat. He continued to feed on the momentum until June 4, when he crashed into the Dodger Stadium’s fence. The collision tore the ligament of Judge’s right foot toe, which led to a six-week absence. Before Judge went on a prolonged IL stint, the Yanks were 57-49. However, during those crucial six weeks, the team’s record tanked at 25-31. The difference in numbers speaks for itself.
Even in a compromised state, Aaron Judge remained the best hitter on the team. He finished the year with .267 and 37 homers across a mere 106 games. His trajectory was similar to that of 2022, wherein he slammed the all-time high 62-home run record. Having said that, Judge did restrict himself in the field as he was half healed. He wanted to get better while playing simultaneously to avoid an off-season surgery. Moreover, it seems the captain succeeded in that pursuit, as surgery seems off the table for now. Regardless, the 2023 season showed how the Yankees cannot afford to have their captain out of the lineup even for a week. Thus, the entire team management needs to ensure that Judge stays healthy for the 2024 season and beyond, as the former still has eight years left on the contract.
Yankees Captain To Have Additional Responsibility This Off-Season!
Aaron Judge is no longer the superstar slugger of the New York Yankees. He is now the captain and leader of the franchise. Thus, his responsibilities will witness a surge this off-season. As confirmed earlier, Judge will have an important say in front-office matters with respect to roster construction. Besides, the captain also plans on sharing ideas for quick fixes with the leadership.
Aaron Judge believes that the entire decision-making team has to come together and have tough conversations. It is vital for the leadership group to stay on the same page as far as the franchise’s future is concerned. He or any official alone cannot do the job. To safeguard the long-term future of the organization, he would need the support and involvement of every individual.