Anthony Rizzo is hopeful of Aaron Judge returning to the New York Yankees for more reasons than one.
Fresh off re-signing with the Bronx Bombers, Rizzo would obviously love to continue playing alongside one of MLB's best players. In his mind, Judge's fate carries a larger importance, too.
"I hope Judge stays just for the sake of the game," he told reporters. "Because you see a lot of franchise icons not getting what they deserve for the team that they have done so much for."
As perhaps the most prestigious MLB franchise in the country's biggest sports market, there typically isn't much concern about one of the Yankees' top stars flying the coop.
And while team chairman Hal Steinbrenner isn't quite as free-spending as his father, signing Gerrit Cole to a nine-year, $324 million contract in 2020 showed ownership is still willing to go above and beyond for elite talent.
Judge could be an exception, though.
The Yankees made a final offer of seven years and $213.5 million to the four-time All-Star before the season got underway. He proceeded to hit an American League record 62 home runs and finish with a 1.111 OPS.
ESPN's Kiley McDaniel projected Judge to get a nine-year, $324 million deal this winter.
Despite how much his value has skyrocketed, you still assume New York to be his likeliest landing spot.
The Yankees can't afford to lose him, with their American League Championship Series exit exposing how dependent upon the 6'7" slugger they had become. They're also one of the few teams that can give him the money he wants.
It would be ironic if Judge weren't in pinstripes in 2023.
To Rizzo's point, the Yankees are usually the ones benefiting when a team doesn't properly value a homegrown star.