Friday, June 20, 2014
Posted by el duque at 7:27 AM
Judge has a way to go. He is 22 - older than Cito Culver or Dante Bichette Jr., the poster children for controversial Yankee picks. At Charleston, anything less than Sherman's march to the sea would have been a disappointment, dropping Judge into the Biz Bag of deflated studs - the Mason Williamses and Slade Heathcotts. But he tore apart Charleston, and even in a farm system where our biggest erections seem to go flacid somewhere between Tampa and Trenton - and he's still a year away - Aaron Judge has established himself as The Great Yankee Hope of Hope Week 2014.
Which makes him The Second Coming of Jesus.
Of course, I'm referring to Jesus "Hey-Seuss" Montero, who carried our Hope Week banners for three relatively hope-challenged years, between 2009 and 2011 - until the Great Swap of Quarks - Montero for Pineta - two theoretical particles. Scientists are still studying that deal, wondering who won, and what the hell happened? Some questions can never be answered. This is one. Humankind is not meant to have the answer.
Which brings us to the future of Aaron Judge.
Last night, in his first game at Tampa, he went 2 for 4. Today... right now... this minute... this frickin MOMENT IN TIME... he is the guy that any team would demand for a front-line starter. He is the price of a David Price. Of course, the deal wouldn't end with Judge. The team would want one or two players closer to the show. But Judge is the chip that could seal a deal, in much the way that Drew Henson was, when the Yankees traded for David Justice.
Which brings us to Brian Cashman, the man who dealt Jesus.
Yesterday, Cashman conducted one of those party line chats, where he opines on everything but the Iraq War. In it, he all but vowed to make a deal between now and the July 31 trade deadline. He is looking for that front-line pitcher, and this week, his bartering tongue grew three inches. Last night's sweep of Toronto - (Those big bad Jays suddenly don't look so tough, eh?) - and Baltimore's loss of Matt Weiters, clearly boosted Yankee hope through the roof. Moreover, it looks increasingly as if Boston could climb back into the race, adding to Yankee emotional needs. This is, after all, Jeter's final run. We blew it with Mariano. This time, we'll need more than Alfonso Soriano or Xavier Nady.
In the Yankee dark ages of the 1980s - the great 14-year barf - George Steinbrenner could trade prospects without immediate criticism, because hardly anyone followed them. The writers simply gummed their cud about how much Rick Rhoden or Ken Phelps would add to the team. Only the few fans who subscribed to Baseball America ever heard of a McGriff or a McGee. Today, that has changed. Yankee fans are tightly clued into the events in Charleston and Trenton. Two nights ago, I talked with a Yankee fan, and the first thing he asked was, "Why do you think the Yankees benched Gary Sanchez?" In the days of Gabe Paul, that conversation would never have happened.
It's time for the Yankiverse to have a new conversation: Is Aaron Judge our future, or is he trade fodder? I honestly don't know. But I know this: Aaron is the new Jesus. And Judgement Day, July 31, is not far away. You can see it from here.