If Aaron Judge is to be named the Yankees’ next captain, the decision will come from Hal Steinbrenner.
Judge agreed to a nine-year, $360 million contract with the Yankees on Wednesday morning, opting to remain in pinstripes instead of signing with the Giants or Padres. While Judge’s pact is not official yet, some are already wondering if the MVP’s deal comes with a new title.
General manager Brian Cashman, speaking Wednesday at the Winter Meetings, said only Steinbrenner can answer that question.
“I've never been the one that's made the decision to make a captain,” Cashman said, adding that retiring numbers follows the same chain of command within the organization. “It doesn't sit at the manager's desk. It doesn't sit at the general manager's desk. It sits at the owner's desk.”
Cashman did state that he would “support that decision 110 percent” and acknowledged that Yankees players have campaigned for a Judge captaincy.
“If somebody at the ownership level wants to place the captaincy title around that, there certainly wouldn't be an issue on my end,” Cashman said. “Aaron Judge has been a leader for this franchise in every way, shape and form.”
“I think I'm able to say that if he's back here next year, he's our captain, he's the next captain,” Cortes said prior to Game 3 of the American League Championship Series. “We follow everything he does. He leads by example. He's not really a guy that comes out and screams at anybody. But if he has to, that's his job. I think he's earned that right to keep us in check. What allows him to be so great, I feel like, is he's a great baseball player, but he's a better human. He treats everybody the same. He follows up on everybody every day. That's what allows him to be who he is.”
The Yankees have not had an official captain since Derek Jeter retired after the 2014 season, though players including Judge, CC Sabathia and Brett Gardner have been viewed as prominent leaders in New York’s locker room in the years since. Jeter was named captain in 2003.
In November, the YES Network’s Meredith Marakovits asked Steinbrenner about awarding Judge the honor if were to return.
“That is something we would consider,” the owner said.
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