New York star slugger Aaron Judge took a risk by turning down a seven-year, $213.5 million deal from the Yankees at the start of the season.
But Judge, who has belted 60 home runs already this season and is on the precipice of tying Roger Maris’ American League home run record, will be rewarded with a presumably much bigger payday this offseason. Even Red Sox manager Alex Cora knows that.
“I think he’s a great ambassador of the game,” Cora told reporters before Friday’s matchup with the Yankees, per MassLive’s Christopher Smith. “Obviously, they (the Yankees) have other things to do this season. They have their goals and all that. But I think obviously the future is going to be bright and very green.”
While there’s pressure on Judge surrounding his home run quest, Cora hasn’t seen him fazed by it.
“I’ve seen a lot of things this year with him that’s a lot different from previous years,” Cora said. “There’s a lot of conversations in-between innings with other players on the field. He’s doing that a lot. And just details like that. It seems like he’s enjoying this atmosphere more than ever. He’s having a lot of fun out there. Of course. If I had 60 homers, I’d be having fun, too.”
Judge went 0-for-2 with three walks in the series opener Thursday against the Red Sox. It seemed for a moment the right-handed hitter made history with round-tripper No. 61 in the bottom of the ninth inning when he skied a pitch from reliever Matt Barnes deep to center field. But Judge’s 404-foot blast, which had many thinking it was homer, came up short of going over the wall and landed safely in Kiké Hernández’s glove. Judge has another shot to tie Maris’ mark Friday night when the Red Sox send Rich Hill to the mound.
In all likelihood, Judge will own the record before the regular season concludes, which will only further drive his price tag higher when he hits free agency.