If Yankees fans are looking for someone to thank for the re-signing of star outfielder Aaron Judge, they can look no further than the dog of first baseman Anthony Rizzo. Judge appeared on The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon, where he revealed the role Rizzo’s four-legged friend played in his return to New York.
“It was Anthony Rizzo,” Judge said. “He played a big part. He was a free agent, too. Opted out, but he got his contract out of the way and he said, ‘Now we’ve gotta get you locked in.’ He was calling me every day. He was sending me texts every day. He went for my heart. My little Penny and his dog, Kevin, are the best of friends.”
Then, Fallon shared a photo of Anthony Rizzo and Aaron Judge’s dogs standing side-by-side. That prompted a humorous response from Judge about Rizzo texting him photos of the two to get him to stay.
“This is what I had to deal with,” he said. “Every day I was getting photos like this.”
No matter the reason, Yankees fans have to be excited about both Judge and Rizzo’s return. The pair helped New York advance to the ALCS this past year, and will hope for even better results next season.
Aaron Judge, Anthony Rizzo re-sign with Yankees
Judge re-signed with the Yankees on Dec. 20 on a nine-year deal reportedly worth $360 million. That marks the largest contract in MLB history.
It was a historic season for the Yankees outfielder, who set the MLB single-season record with 62 home runs. He batted .311/.425/.686 in 157 games while also leading the Majors in runs (133), RBIs (131), slugging percentage, on-base percentage, OPS+ (211) and total bases (391).
“He’s an amazing player and an amazing person that certainly has the respect of everyone in that room,” Yankees manager Aaron Boone said. “Guys look to him, look up to him. When you have a player of that caliber that is as beloved and important as he is on a daily basis, you want to do your best to hang on to that.”
As for Rizzo, he re-signed on a two-year deal worth $40 million. The first baseman has spent the past two seasons in New York. He finished with 32 homers, 75 RBIs and a .224 batting average in 2022.