NJ.com | Randy Miller: The offseason hardware is rolling in, and Aaron Judge has earned his first of the year. Judge was named the AL Hank Aaron Award winner, recognizing the best offensive player in the league according to a fan vote as well as a panel of Hall of Fame players. Judge joins former Yankees Derek Jeter and Alex Rodriguez as winners since the award’s induction in 1999, and it bodes well for his AL MVP case concluding a week later.
NY Post | Joel Sherman: Entering 2021, there were a number of New York players approaching free agency that probably expected to get solid deals after an exemplary introduction to the league. Fast forward a year, and it’s going to be a hard sell for any of them, including a trio of former Yankees in Gary Sánchez, Joey Gallo and Aroldis Chapman (Chapman isn’t technically an ex-Yankee yet, but he is all but assumed to be after his messy ending to 2022). The business aspect of the game is always a messy game, but their future employers (if they get any) likely won’t be paying for past performances after they’ve been buried by recent struggles.
Sports Illustrated | Patrick McAvoy: Speaking of Chapman, it seems probable that he won’t be wearing pinstripes anymore and also probable that most teams around the league aren’t going to shell out the big bucks for him anymore. His ending in New York was nothing short of a disaster, with his general struggles added on by his tattoo incident and departure before the playoffs due to an unguaranteed postseason role. There are a number of teams that could roll the dice on Chapman still though, provided he signs for a cheap prove-it kind of deal, and one of the most interesting teams could be the Yankees’ archrivals in the Red Sox.
Frankly, this is a union I could get behind. It was already difficult to root for Chapman while on this team, and I’d have no problem rooting against him once he’s off of it. Why not combine the issues and stick him on the team that the Yankees hate the most, with the potential for a full-blown explosion?
NJ.com | Mike Rosenstein: The Yankees clearly should do everything in their power to convince Aaron Judge to stay with the Yankees, but they can’t ignore the rest of the roster while they wait for him to make a decision. There’s movement to be made at left field, where the Yankees have to weigh re-signing Andrew Benintendi versus throwing someone new into the role (it sounds like they aren’t sold on Oswaldo Cabrera starting there right now), and they have an open competition brewing at shortstop with Oswald Peraza and Anthony Volpe nearing the big leagues. Re-signing Rizzo would be a plus as well, otherwise they’ll have to revamp a majority of the infield in a snap.
Lastly, both the YES Network and the sports world writ large are mourning the loss of a popular figure. Fred Hickman was the original host for Yankees games on YES when it launched in 2002, and anyone who didn’t already know him from CNN or other outlets certainly grew familiar with him during his three years covering the Yanks. He’ll be missed.