In an interview with Mookie Betts, New York Yankees outfielder Aaron Judge spoke about the “Arson Judge” drama at the 2022 MLB Winter Meetings.
Baseball fans all knew where they were when the now-infamous tweet “Arson Judge appears headed to Giants” by MLB insider Jon Heyman was sent out this past winter.
With that, New York Yankees fans went into a panic, as it looked as though the team was going to lose Aaron Judge, who had just won the AL MVP and broken the AL single-season home run record, to San Francisco. Ultimately though, Judge remained with the Yankees on a lucrative nine-year, $360 million contract.
Ahead of the team’s series against the Los Angeles Dodgers, Judge spoke with Mookie Betts on Bleacher Reports’ “On Base with Mookie Betts.” During the interview, Betts asked Judge about the “Arson Judge” drama that transpired during the Winter Meetings in San Diego. Judge jokingly said, “I think my name changed a little bit.”
Aaron Judge speaks on ‘Arson Judge’ drama at Winter Meetings
“I was actually on a flight and my agent texted me and said ‘bro, stuff’s going down in San Diego right now,’ and I’m like what are you talking about,” said Judge. “So I guess this kind of happened at the Winter Meetings…But it was funny, that kind of blew up a little bit, I started getting a couple of text messages from family and friends and people with the Yankees…”
Judge was linked to the Giants, as he grew up cheering for them, and the team was looking to land a superstar this offseason. the outfielder detailed his approach to free agency with Betts but said that his goal was to go back to the Yankees.
"“I wanted to stay in New York, I always wanted to be in New York, but looking at it, I think I’d kick myself down the road if I just didn’t go through the process. Just check out the process, see what other teams have to offer. I got to meet a lot of great coaches, a lot of great front offices, other players with other teams, just kind of see how they ran things, what their mindset was.“At the end of the day, what it came down for me was winning, I want to win. You have two World Series rings back home, for me that was my main goal. So looking through all the options, looking through all the teams we talked to, it always came back to which teams is going to give me the best opportunity to win. New York is always at the top of that list.”"
Less than a day after the “Arson Judge” tweet was sent and later backtracked, Judge had struck a deal with the Yankees, thanks in part to a phone call from team owner Hal Steinbrenner, who was vacationing in Italy. Not only did he get $40 million a year for the next nine seasons, but he was also given the captaincy for the team, a role not held since Derek Jeter’s retirement.
This season, Judge may not match his home run total from 2022, but he is playing like the favorite to win the AL MVP award again. He was named the AL Player of the Month for May after recording a .342 batting average, a .474 on-base percentage, a .882 slugging percentage, 12 home runs, 23 runs scored, and 25 RBI.
Yankees fans sure have to be grateful that it was “Arson Judge” heading to the Giants and not Aaron Judge.