Aaron Judge discusses free agency on the Tonight Show

NEW YORK — Aaron Judge is a Yankee for life, and Anthony Rizzo’s aggressive text-messaging campaign may have been the club’s secret weapon.

In an appearance on NBC’s “The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon” on Monday, Judge detailed how Rizzo tugged on his heartstrings by sending daily text messages during the slugger’s free-agency period, including snapshots of their Dachshunds roaming the Yankee Stadium outfield together.

“He was a big part,” Judge said of Rizzo. “He was a free agent, too; He opted out, but he got his contract out of the way [in November] and he said, ‘Now we’ve got to get you locked in.’ He was calling me every day. He was sending me texts every day. He was working hard.

“He went for my heart. My little Penny and his dog, Kevin, are the best of friends. Every day, I was getting photos.”

Judge, who agreed to a nine-year, $360 million contract in December, said that he had set a lunch date with former Yankees captain Derek Jeter to discuss the free-agency process.

“He said, ‘You know what, I’ll take you out to lunch, we’ll kind of talk about things,'” Judge said. “But then after I signed my deal, he said, ‘Now you’re going to take me out for breakfast, lunch and dinner.'”

Judge first appeared on “The Tonight Show” in May 2017 for a pre-recorded bit in which the then-rookie outfielder wore a pair of Clark Kent glasses to quiz unsuspecting fans in New York’s Bryant Park.

He also appeared in a taped bit this past November at the MLB Store, where Fallon and Judge photobombed fans while dressed as a Yankees catcher and umpire, respectively.

There was some revelry early in Monday’s appearance, as Judge participated in a “Blow Your Mind” game show segment. Following a commercial break, Judge made his first appearance on the interview couch. With nine more years in New York, it likely won’t be his last.

“It’s about time,” said the judge. “I’ve been waiting.”


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