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Aaron Judge was named Yankees captain 9 years after signing a $360 million contract

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On the heels of signing his historic contract, New York quarterback Aaron Judge became the 16th captain in Yankees history — the first since Derek Jeter from 2003-2014.

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New York Yankees quarterback Aaron Judge was named team captain, the 16th in franchise history, on the heels of his season MVP and outstanding free agent contract.

Judge, 30, signed a nine-year, $360 million deal and was named the first captain on the pinstripes since Hall of Fame member Derek Jeter retired after the 2014 season.

With Jeter and Willie Randolph in attendance, the Yankees officially announced the moves at a press conference.

“Getting a chance to be the Yankees captain now, that goes without saying what an honor it is. I looked at the roster — Thurman Monson, Lou Gehrig, Ron Guidry, Willie Randolph, Derek Jeter, Don Mattingly,” Judge said.

“That’s a good list out there, not just the great baseball players but the game’s great ambassadors, the New York Yankees. That’s an incredible honor and I don’t take it lightly.”

Judge got the mega deal after rolling the dice by turning down a mega offer last spring. Judge hit 62 home runs in 2022, tying an American League home run record.

He rejected what general manager Brian Cashman publicly revealed was a seven-year, $213.5 million contract in March 2022.

Terms of an offer from the San Francisco Giants matching the financial figures for the final deal with the Yankees began leaking earlier this month. Reporters gathered at baseball’s Winter Meetings helped fans ablaze as Judge was headed to San Francisco after a premature report suggested Judge was on the run.

Judge also received an offer from the San Diego Padres, but after considering contract offers from those three teams, he decided to return to New York.

“For the past month, it’s been hard to imagine the New York Yankees without Aaron,” said Yankees owner Hal Steinbrenner.

“In one of the conversations we had a couple of weeks ago, I actually said to him, ‘As far as I’m concerned, you’re not a free agent, as far as I’m concerned, you’re a Yankee, and we have to do everything we can to make sure that stays the way it is.'”

“Technically, of course, I was wrong in my feelings. Aaron was a free agent and there were many clubs that wanted him to be a part of their organization very much. Fortunately in the end it worked out.”

A four-time All-Star, Judge has a career-high 220 home runs and 497 RBIs in seven seasons. He led the American League with 131 RBIs in 2022.

Cashman and team executives said after the season that bringing back Judge was “the only” priority and making him the team captain was a consideration.

“We like to continue to call him our player every step of the way because he’s following what looks like — as long as nothing happens — a career path that will lead him to Cooperstown,” said Cashman. “I like to be planned every step of the way.” -Rappler.com

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