Yankees' Aaron Judge says new $1 million prize isn't enough to lure him back to the Home Run Derby
Judge won the Home Run Derby in 2017, but passed on the 2018 event
. Some take effect this season (single July 31 trade deadline) while others will take effect next season (26th roster spot).
Among the rule changes is an increase in Home Run Derby prize money. Specifically, the Home Run Derby winner will now receive a $1 million bonus, up from $150,000. Many big name players pass on the Home Run Derby each year, so MLB hopes the prize money will lure more stars to the event ( ).
Unfortunately for fans and MLB, the $1 million prize money isn't enough to entice Yankees slugger Aaron Judge to again take his hacks in the Home Run Derby. Earlier this week Judge told reporters, including Anthony Rieber of Newsday, he won't participate in the event going forward until it takes place in New York. Here are more details from Rieber:
"Maybe if the All-Star break was a week long and I actually had a break, I would be more enticed to do it," he said. "But the money doesn't change it."
"(The 2017 Home Run Derby) affected me because I hurt my shoulder," he said. "But my swing-wise, no. I was just taking BP. That was probably the worst thing having to hear every single day, people saying, 'Did it affect you?' Nah, it was a day of BP. It doesn't really affect me. If I didn't get hurt, it would have been a different story."
Judge won the 2017 Home Run Derby with relative ease but slumped in the first few weeks following the All-Star break. He hurt his shoulder crashing into the outfield wall in early July, and without ever actually admitting it, he indicated the Home Run Derby exacerbated the injury, which eventually required offseason surgery. Now he's confirming it. Judge did not participate in the 2018 Home Run Derby.
MLB officials probably cringed when they heard Judge's comments. They're trying to lure big name players to the Home Run Derby with the $1 million bonus and here's one of the game's biggest stars saying he got hurt during the event, and that players need more time to recover. That probably won't help get more of the game's best players to the event, especially well-paid players like Mike Trout. (Trout has never participated in the Home Run Derby.)
The Associated Press recently reported Judge will make $684,300 as a pre-arbitration-eligible player in 2019. He also received a $1.8 million signing bonus as a 2013 first round pick and has lucrative endorsement deals with Pepsi and Adidas. Granted, $1 million is $1 million, but it seems Judge doesn't need the prize money as much as some other players.
The Home Run Derby and All-Star Game will take place in Cleveland's Progressive Field this year and Dodger Stadium next year. The old Yankee Stadium hosted the All-Star Game in 2008 and the new Yankee Stadium is likely in the queue to host the Midsummer Classic at some point in the 2020s.
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