The Yankees could really use 150 games or so from Aaron Judge this season, a player so talented that nearly everyone agrees he’ll be an MVP candidate as long as he’s on the field for the commensurate number of innings.
As it turns out, that MVP quest is motivating Judge in the lab every night, too, and he’s spent some time studying the last Yankee to bring the trophy home.
Alex Rodriguez was the most recent Bronx Bomber to do exactly what Judge needs to in order to cement his burgeoning captaincy, putting the team on his back for the entire 2007 regular season, then doing the same in a legendary 2009 World Series run.
Based on the wholesome interaction the two had Monday night, Judge could probably recite his legacy-swinging stat lines from those two campaigns by now.
Rodriguez got the buzz started with a simple comment, “MVP for No. 99 this year!!!” equipped with the exact right amount of fire emojis (one of them).
And Judge’s response was exactly what we wanted to hear.
A-Rod and Aaron Judge with a cool interaction on Instagram pic.twitter.com/X7IHpVRuSO
Yankees star Aaron Judge had a cool exchange with A-Rod on Instagram.
Let’s make one thing very clear for the generation of tweens currently living on Yankees Twitter: 2007 A-Rod was so good.
If 2007 A-Rod had happened in 2020, thousands of Twitter accounts would be called “Hoodie A-Rod.”
Still maligned by many of the Bronx faithful for his clutch performances — even after a 2005 MVP season featuring a triple slash of .321/.421/.610 — Rodriguez mashed the cover off the baseball in ’07, hitting 54 homers, knocking in 156 runs, and hitting .333 with 18 homers and 98 RBI with runners in scoring position.
That’ll show ’em!
Most HRs before 31st birthday:
451 –> Alex Rodriguez
438 –> Ken Griffey Jr. ⚡️⚡️⚡️
429 –> Jimmie Foxx
408 –> Albert Pujols
404 –> Mickey Mantle https://t.co/A4skPzzUwT
— Codify, Inc. (@CodifyBaseball) February 24, 2021
If Judge piles up enough games played in 2021 and even approaches the year A-Rod (already great!) leveled up to “unstoppable,” we’d be over the moon.
Hopefully, he gleans enough from watching the footage that some of the magic rubs off on him. I’ve watched the ’07 highlights 1,000 times and I never got any better, but maybe Judge sees something I didn’t.
In looking to secure a long-term deal, Judge faces the challenges of his own reputation. While no one would accuse him of the same “empty calories” that Rodriguez often found himself scolded for, fans and management alike don’t know much about what a 150-game Judge season without any impingements or maladies looks like.
The Yankees won’t budge on a contract extension until we have a larger sample size and single-season timeline of dominance, and an ’09-style playoff run wouldn’t hurt either. We’re all crossing our fingers that the dream becomes reality this summer, and Jasson Dominguez can start watching Judge’s MVP reel during his late-night betterment sessions.