Yankees RF Aaron Judge, entering his final year of arbitration, is set to be a free agent after the 2022 campaign. However, he made clear his preference to remain in New York’s pinstripes as he nears his contract season.
Asked during Thursday’s Fanatics Live interview if he would follow in the footsteps of legendary former CF Mickey Mantle and “be a lifelong Yankee,” Judge did not mince words with his response.
“That’s a great one — Mickey Mantle‘s one of the staples, one of the legends to wear the pinstripes — and that’s a dream of mine,” Judge said. “For me, I grew up in California. I grew up watching the San Francisco Giants. And whenever I turned on the TV in October, I always see the Yankees. And as a kid, I always dreamed like, ‘OK, I’ll get drafted by the Giants. And then when I’m a free agent, I’ll go sign and play with the Yankees and end my career there.’ But things turned out a little different and I, luckily, ended up getting drafted by the Yankees out of college. And just to be honest, there’s no better place to play.
“No other place I’d ever really want to play, just based on how the fans have embraced me, how they’ve brought me in and treated me as one of their own. And it’s incredible. Getting a chance to play at Yankee Stadium, that place every night basically being sold out, the fans always having your back, it’s just a dream come true. So that would be a wish of mine, a goal of mine to finish my career as a Yankee. But you never know what the cards hold. But if it was up to me, I’d be a Yankee for the next 10 years, for sure.”
Judge, whose 30th birthday is April 26, approaches 2022 on a $17 million salary for the upcoming campaign. In 2021, his fifth full year with the Yankees, he produced a .287/.373/.544 slash line while adding 39 home runs and 98 RBI in 148 regular-season games.
A three-time All-Star and two-time Silver Slugger, Judge debuted with the Yankees in 2016. Since his first full season — 2017 — he has slashed .280/.391/.563 with 154 home runs and 356 RBI in 545 regular-season games.
Source: Yahoo Sports