Aaron Judge has yet to play a game so far this spring due to injury struggles, but could the Yankees afford to lose him for an extended period of time?
With initial testing going underway today per every credible news source Yankees fans have at their disposal, one can’t bare the brunt of any worse news. How much more can the Yankees withstand? As Spring Training starts to intensify, the Yankees are on a crash course towards Opening Day sooner rather than later. Aaron Judge is the de-facto leader of this ball club and losing him means the Yankees lose their swagger. What he means to the team, no one can replicate. Hoping this is something minor is always in the organization’s and fans best interest, but if the team doctors cannot diagnosis this injury I am more worrisome than most.
While the injuries seem to be piling on, the Yankees cannot afford to lose Judge at all. With the Tampa Bay Rays coming off a great season, they look to capitalize going forward and it only makes sense their younger core improves. Knowing that the AL East is a tad bit down this year should not mean the Yankees can coast over the course of the season. In the three full years Aaron Judge has dawned the pinstripes, they are an insane 219-139 when he starts. There is clearly a consistent force and it so happens to be the Yankees best player. Last season was special with the “next man up” mentality, but the 2020 Yankees cannot afford to have the bad luck endured over the course of this season.
There is clearly an underlying issue with Judge, whether it be his shoulder or pectoral muscle. The fact that he has discomfort swinging is a genuine problem three weeks away from Opening Day. The lineup looks a hell of a lot different without him out there and it only causes the outfield depth to get much thinner with the likes of Giancarlo Stanton and Aaron Hicks starting the season on the shelf. This is not good news for Aaron Judge as he is entering his fourth year in the MLB and is likely looking for a contract extension in the near future.
If he cannot stay on the field, how much money will he have to forfeit in his next contract, or will the Yankees play the waiting game and use all of their eligible arbitration years on him? Judge wants to get on the field and perform, as a Yankee fan, we all know how engaged he is at all times and it will be an absolute gut punch if he is not able to be ready for the start of the season. Pushing through injury is something the Yankees and fans do not want to see because causing further injury could damage his career. If it so happens to be a couple months on the I.L. so be it, as long as it is not in October.
Having an influx of injuries to start Spring Training has been numbing but the fans will get through this. Only hoping for the best is the best option. The Yankees still have Gerrit Cole and once we hear great news about Aaron Judge all will be forgotten on the quest for 28.