Aaron Judge Would 'Disappear' If He Left Yankees for Another Team, MLB Executive Says

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured Columnist IVJune 22, 2022

NEW YORK, NEW YORK - JUNE 11: Aaron Judge #99 of the New York Yankees reacts after hitting his second home run of the game in the fifth inning against the Chicago Cubs at Yankee Stadium on June 11, 2022 in New York City. (Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images)
Mike Stobe/Getty Images

In the view of one MLB executive, Aaron Judge's Q Score would take a massive hit if he were to leave the New York Yankees.

The executive told ESPN's Buster Olney that Judge's legacy and overall profile would significantly benefit by remaining in the Big Apple:

"If [Judge] signs with another team, it'd be like Alex Rodriguez going [from Seattle] to Texas. He'd disappear. No matter where it is, he wouldn't have the same impact [on the baseball landscape] than he would if he just stayed with the Yankees. If he stays with the Yankees, he'll be the next [Derek] Jeter -- they'd probably make him captain, and he'll make twice as much money in endorsements than anywhere else."

There's no question that playing for a sport's most famous franchise that also happens to be in one of the world's biggest media markets can provide benefits no other situation can.

The idea that Judge would "disappear" with another MLB team isn't really based in reality, either.

When Rodriguez "disappeared" in his three years with the Texas Rangers, he was still a three-time All-Star and the 2003 American League MVP—on a team that won 71 games, no less.

Think about how breathlessly Rodriguez's potential trade to the Boston Red Sox was being reported in 2003. The star shortstop was still capable of moving the needle like few others in MLB during his Texas interlude.

The executive's comments also belie the current landscape for sports, one in which social media has made it far easier for an athlete to build his personal brand and extend his reach.

While it's not a perfect metric to gauge a player's popularity, Judge had the seventh-highest-selling jersey of 2021. San Diego Padres shortstop Fernando Tatis Jr. and Atlanta Braves right fielder Ronald Acuna Jr. were second and third, respectively, and neither plays in what you'd consider a massive media market.

Los Angeles Angels star Mike Trout almost actively shuns the spotlight, and he still pulled down $14 million from endorsements based on Forbes' 2022 numbers. Trout was the only baseball player among the top 50 overall earners.

If fame and fortune are primary drivers for Judge's decision when he weighs all of his options as a free agent in 2023, then he can be reasonably confident of attaining both outside of New York.