Aaron Judge watched Alex Verdugo play for the Yankees’ fiercest rival the last four Major League Baseball seasons.

But Verdugo’s connection to the Boston Red Sox didn’t prevent the superstar slugger from thinking very highly of the veteran outfielder.

Verdugo and Judge now are teammates, as a rare Red Sox-Yankees trade back in December put the former in pinstripes. The eighth-year pro kicked off his first spring training with the New York this week, and if you ask Judge, it was a long time coming.

“I’ve been preaching for years, ‘You gotta try to get that guy,'” Judge told reporters earlier this week, per the New York Post.

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The 2022 American League MVP wasn’t the only Yankees team leader who wanted Verdugo in the Bronx. The ex-Boston right fielder on Thursday revealed Anthony Rizzo previously dropped hints about New York coveting Verdugo’s services.

The first baseman wasn’t blowing smoke to pander to a new teammate either. One day after the Verdugo trade, Yankees manager Aaron Boone revealed Brian Cashman and company had been attempting to acquire the 2014 second-round draft pick “for a while.”

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Verdugo might not be with New York for long, though. The 27-year-old will play this season on an expiring contract.

Featured image via Jonathan Dyer/USA TODAY Sports Images