Yankees outfielder Aaron Judge said Tuesday that he deleted old social media posts congratulating Jose Altuve on winning the 2017 American League MVP.

Yankees fans caught the deletions back in January shortly after MLB commissioner Rob Manfred released his report on the Astros’ sign-stealing scandal, which showed illegal activity in 2017. Judge, now with his club ahead of spring training, opened up about why he decided to remove the posts from his Twitter and Instagram profiles.

Here’s a sample of the posts for reference:

“I took it down right when the story broke out, and right when Mike Fiers came out and talked to The Athletic and stated what was going on in 2017,” Judge said. “Once I heard that I was sick to my stomach. I had a lot of respect for those guys, what they did, and especially what they did for the city of Houston, and that whole organization for a team who was in last place and drafted right, got the right players in there, and eventually got the World Series. I had a lot of respect for them… Then to find out it wasn’t earned and that they cheated, it didn’t sit well with me, and I felt like the post I did didn’t mean the same anymore.”

Those are strong words coming from the Yankees’ soft-spoken giant. But it’s easy to see where Judge is coming from.

In 2017, Altuve narrowly took home the MVP over Judge by winning the batting title with a .346 batting average and leading the Astros to a 101-61 record. But there’s a compelling argument that Judge deserved to win it as he led the AL in home runs (52) and finished second behind only Mike Trout in on-base percentage (.422), slugging percentage (.627) and RBIs (114).

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It’s fair to wonder not only if Judge would have won if it weren’t for the Astros’ cheating, but whether or not the Yankees would have been able to win the 2017 ALCS, rather than falling in seven games to the eventual World Series winners.

“I could sit up here and lie to you and say that I’ll forget about it and move on,” Judge said, “but you’re always going to have that bad taste in your mouth.”

Judge also didn’t hold back his disdain for the way Manfred has handled the scandal, saying he thinks the Astros should be stripped of their title and players should be penalized.

“I really wasn’t a fan of the punishment; I thought that was a little weak for a player-driven scheme, that no players involved got any punishments,” Judge said. “When it comes down to a player-driven scheme, I feel like the players involved need to be punished. If I go out there and cheat the game — I think [Yu] Darvish was the one that said, ‘If you’re playing in the Olympics, you win a gold medal and you find out you cheated, you don’t get to keep that medal.'”

He even went on to speculate about the uncertainty surrounding the 2019 playoffs, in which the Astros again knocked out the Yankees in the ALCS.

“It’s tough to think that it didn’t continue,” Judge said. “I don’t know all the facts; nobody knows all the facts. So to think that they cheated and won it all in ’17, to think that they just clear-cut stopped the next — ’19 or ’18 — it’s tough for me to say that. But we’ll never really know, to be honest. I don’t think so.”

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