Aaron Judge Yankees prepare to test for a new position this week
The New York Yankees are doing whatever it takes to ensure their stadium is ready for a grueling 162-game season this year. While left field position remains a question and concern, superstar Aaron Judge is willing to do whatever it takes to help overcome any shortcomings.
Having just signed a nine-year, $360 million extension, Judge is going all out forward, doing whatever the team needs to do, and potentially playing a little left field this coming season.
Traditionally, Judge has appeared in right field, which is one of the easier positions in Yankee Stadium. Ultimately, if manager Aaron Boone wants to field Giancarlo Stanton defensively, they’ll probably start him on RF, keeping him as safe as possible from potential injury. With that being said, Harrison Bader, quarterback and Judge can get into the LF, providing the exponential value the Yankees desperately need next season.
The Yankees are versatility across the board:
In fact, it was Judge who came up with the idea of playing left to give Stanton more opportunities to emerge defensively. Of course, injury has been an important issue for Giancarlo the past few years, but they need to capitalize on his value, considering he’s making over $30 million a season.
“I mentioned it to them about, ‘If we need to get the Big G in right field at Yankee Stadium, put me left,’” the judge said on February 21. “I don’t mind it.” I don’t mind switching so we can have me, [center fielder Harrison Bader] And Big G is there. We’ll get some reps, hopefully, in spring training and feel good there.”
At 30, Judge is still in his mid-season, but has only played center and right field at the professional level. He has 4,611 runs to his name in the RF and 798.2 in the CF. Of course, the Yankees didn’t have Bader at their disposal until the end of the 2022 campaign, so having him healthy next season should give them more flexibility in their outside alliances.
However, it’s great to see Judge take on more responsibility and show his leadership qualities. The team could eventually get a new left fielder at the deadline over the summer, especially if Aaron Hicks is struggling to open the year.
However, both Rafael Ortega and Willie Calhoun have looked strong this spring, putting them in position to win the 26-man roster. If that’s the case, I wouldn’t be surprised if the left field battle continues into the regular season with Boone playing hot hand on a daily basis.