The Aaron Judge sweepstakes seemed to be swaying in the direction of the San Francisco Giants, though that report was later backtracked. Even so, many believed Judge was going to play for his hometown team instead.
That is until Yankees owner Hal Steinbrenner got on the phone to call Judge and ask what he needed to remain in pinstripes.
But that phone call didn’t come until Steinbrenner met Pope Francis during his vacation in Italy.
A photo was posted via YES Network that showed Steinbrenner about to shake hands with Pope Francis on Dec. 1.
Five days later, Steinbrenner called Judge from Italy when the Giants seemed to be gaining some traction to figure out how to keep their perennial All-Star and potential next captain in the Bronx, per SNY.
AARON JUDGE TURNED DOWN MUCH LARGER OFFER TO RETURN TO YANKEES: REPORT
The answer was an extra year to make it a total of nine at $360 million. The Yankees had a deal.
Judge ended up turning down the Giants and reportedly the San Diego Padres and their $400 million offer.
With the massive multiyear deal, which is now the highest AAV for a position player in MLB history, the SNY report says it’s “likely” the Yankees will also name Judge their next captain since Derek Jeter.
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After winning the AL MVP this past season with his record-setting performance, Judge was always going to cash in after leaving the Yankees’ Opening Day offer on the table and betting on himself.
New York is ultimately where he wanted to be, but it was never a sure-fire decision. Steinbrenner sealed the deal, and perhaps it had a bit of a divine touch.
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