Yankees fans rejoiced when New York reportedly agreed to a deal with star slugger Aaron Judge, but Stephen A. Smith wasn’t one of those fans.
The Bronx Bombers reportedly beat out the San Francisco Giants and the San Diego Padres for the American League MVP, and it reportedly has those teams scrambling to sign the next big free agents on the market.
The reported deal was the main goal for the Yankees this offseason, but on ESPN’s “First Take,” Smith had one glaring problem with New York.
“I’m not satisfied, I’m not satisfied,” Smith said Wednesday. “I just want to send a message to the New York Yankees. You’re just another team, you’re just another team. You stunk up the month of August. We were wondering whether or not Aaron Boone was gonna get himself fired because that’s how bad y’all had nosedived. You got your act together enough to be put in the postseason. We knew you had no shot against Houston. … Anybody who knows baseball knew the Houston Astros were the better team. They were better managed, they had better talent, they had better pitching, they had a deeper roster, and when you look at it from that perspective, when you’re the New York Yankees, enough’s enough.
“I mean it’s really nice to make headlines today,” Smith continued. “It really, really is. That Aaron Judge is a New York Yankee, still over the next nine years. Thirty years of age, turns 31 in April — will be a New York Yankee for the foreseeable future, maybe into his 40s for all we know. Bottom line is this, as good as retaining him is, we, as Yankees fans, measure you to a different standard — 27 World Series championships, no else comes close, and you ain’t been to the World Series since 2009. So you can sit up there and celebrate Aaron Judge staying all you want to. But all it highlights for a person like me is the fact that you needed him for you to be relevant because outside of Aaron Judge, you’ve given us nothing to brag about because you haven’t lived up to the tradition that is the New York Yankees.
“You’ve been going home in October. You ain’t the Mets. You go home later than them, but (Steve) Cohen’s coming, and he’s willing to spend to do whatever the hell it takes. So I don’t want to hear about budgets. I don’t want to hear about streamlining stuff. I don’t want to hear about watching our wallets. You’re Steinbrenner’s, and you got (Brian) Cashman out there still at the helm as your GM, get it done. I’m sick and tired of watching these pitchers go elsewhere. Aaron Judge is going to have a great regular season, but what’s he going to do in the postseason, and is it going to be enough for you to get to the World Series? The answer is hell no.”
There likely are some Yankees fans who would agree with Smith’s assessment of the club. The Astros swept New York in the AL Championship Series, and the Yankees have lost out on re-signing pitchers and other free agents who could have helped round out Boone’s roster.
But the organization and some of its fans have been waving the victory flag Wednesday, and it will have some time to get more deals done if they so desire.