Yankees Aaron Boone: `Uncomfortable, somber’ until Aaron Judge agreed to stay

Yankees manager Aaron Boone
FILE – New York Yankees manager Aaron Boone speaks to reporters before a Game 4 of an American League Championship baseball series at Yankee Stadium, Oct. 23, 2022, in New York.
AP Photo/Seth Wenig, File

NEW YORK (AP) — Aaron Boone was worried last Tuesday, wondering whether Aaron Judge would leave the New York Yankees for the San Francisco Giants.

“All the tea leaves that day and the uncertainty of it all, it was a little bit of an uncomfortable, somber, not sure day,” the Yankees’ manager recalled Friday.

Boone was asleep his hotel room at the winter meetings in San Diego that night when a friend texted “Congrats.” News of Judge’s decision to accept a $360 million, nine-year contract from the Yankees broke about 5:30 a.m. PST. Boone then checked and learned Judge was staying in pinstripes.

“That morning we flipped the script on me a little bit,” he said with a smile during a break while handing out presents to children at the Yankees’ winter wonderland event.

Boone got more good news Thursday when the Yankees agreed to a $162 million, six-year contract with left-hander Carlos Rodón. The deals with Judge and Rodón are both subject to successful physicals.

“Obviously, we’re talking about a really, really talented guy that’s really starting putting it together here these last couple of years and, hopefully, he can have a big impact on us,” Boone said.

Judge’s deal is likely to be finalized next week.

Rodón, an All-Star the past two seasons, joins a rotation that includes Gerrit Cole, Nestor Cortes and Luis Severino, with Frankie Montas, Domingo Germán and Clarke Schmidt also in the mix.

“It’s got a chance to be really, really special,” Boone said. “A lot of talented pitchers. But, again, we’re here in December. We’ve got to go out and do it. But I like potentially where we’re starting from.”

Boone spoke with Rodón on Thursday. The third overall pick in the 2013 amateur draft, Rodón was hampered by injuries early in his career and let go by the White Sox after the 2020 season, then re-signed. He went 13-7 with a 2.37 ERA for Chicago in 2021, striking out 185 in 132 2/3 innings, and followed that by going 14-8 with a 2.88 ERA and 237 strikeouts in 178 innings for San Francisco last season.

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“He’s been someone that’s been on our radar for a couple of years, honestly,” Boone said. “And then to see him now go out and really put together the kind of seasons he has the last two years I think is a realization of a lot of people within the industry that expected this out of him when he was a top pick out of N.C. State.

“He’s become one of the game’s really great pitchers. The way he’s thrown the last couple of years, he’s a top-of-the-rotation guy,” Boone added. “Over the last couple of years he’s probably learned a lot about himself and his mechanics. I know he’s made some mechanical changes that have really unlocked him and unleashed him.”

NOTES: Boone said RHP Michael King is on pace to be ready for spring training. King fractured his pitching elbow on July 22.