The New York Yankees, who absolutely could not afford to lose Aaron Judge, locked the prolific slugger up to a nine-year, $360 million contract ensuring he will continue to enjoy the gracious dimensions of their Bronx ballpark. This is incredibly good news for fans of the pinstripe and bloggers who claimed Judge would make the Hall of Fame and win multiple MVPs after attending a game in which he hit a 495-foot home run. It's a happy day in the Tri-State Area unless you wanted to find a dark cloud among the silver linings and point out what we all know: that the hometown team could have secured Judge's services for a much smaller pricetag before he went and re-introduced the world to an ungodly amount of Roger Maris Jr.
That's the angle Max Kellerman took this morning on Keyshawn, JWill & Max. "The Yankees are paying an $80 million "stupid tax," he explained.
And yes, they are. It would have been better for the franchise if they'd come to terms with Judge before his historic season. The back half of this contract is not going to be fun, as no back half of any contract is enjoyable in today's baseball where the players use their deals to construct Scrooge McDuck-style money vaults.
But on the other hand, we already knew this and came to terms with it. Judge's price was going to go up exponentially, as it tends to do when one of the best seasons in the history of the game enters the record books. The Yankees are blessed with every competitive advantage in sports and stupid money. At this time, though, they are not in possession of a time machine to go back and right this wrong.
So I really don't want to hear about what-ifs. Isn't it enough to retain someone you absolutely had to retain? Isn't it enough to avoid the larger mistake of missing out on Judge's excellence completely? Or do we really have to sit through the spoiled handwringing of fans upset the richest team in the sport is blowing through a non-existent salary cap?
I am begging Yankees fans to enjoy the nice thing. And the privilege of always having the nice thing. And the privilege of being able to fix old wrongs by dipping into endless financial reserves. Eighty million is a hefty fine for stupidity but it's a bargain compared to the alternative.