Anthony Rizzo wasn’t exactly courting his pal Aaron Judge, but he was persistent in his efforts to keep the slugger with the Yankees.
“I did send him a few images of our dogs together, because we both have dachshunds, along with the message, ‘We can’t separate them!'” This week, Rizzo stated on “The Book of Joe” podcast.
Rizzo, who signed a two-year, $34 million contract early in free agency to remain in The Bronx, refrained from pressuring his friend to sign. Instead, he desired that Judge make the correct choice.
“The question was, ‘What will make you happy? Will the answer be A, B, C, or D? Is it located here, there, or elsewhere?’ ” Rizzo said. In addition to being more of a friend than a teammate during the process.
Judge signed a record nine-year, $360 million contract that will keep him in pinstripes, just weeks after Rizzo elected to remain. The deal was officially confirmed on Wednesday, the same day Judge was chosen the 16th captain in Yankees history after hitting 62 home runs and threatening to win the triple crown.
Anthony Rizzo remained in communication with his friend Aaron Judge throughout their respective free agency periods.
Despite his friend-first attitude, the first baseman had no inside knowledge of Judge’s decision-making process; similarly to fans, media, and front offices of the major leagues, Rizzo was anxious about Judge’s final decision.
Rizzo remembered, “When everything hit the fan at zero hour, I was a little concerned like everyone else.” “But also, saying, ‘You must pursue what makes you happy and will ultimately be best for you'”
It was a chat the two had weeks prior, when Rizzo was contemplating his free agency options. The left-handed hitter tied his career high with 32 home runs in 2022, hit well at Yankee Stadium, and remains a top defensive option at first base, indicating that he likely would have had choices elsewhere in the league.
Obviously, I had conversations with Judge to see what he was thinking, as Rizzo stated. “[Wife] Emily and I determined that staying in New York was our first priority, and if the opportunity presented itself early, we would seize it as long as everything worked out, which it did, and we’re thrilled.”