The Yankees are AL East Division Champions. With that being the case, will Aaron Judge play tonight considering the Yankees have Thursday off? It appears he might be pressing a bit to hit homers 61 and 62.
Judge remains two HRs away from breaking Rodger Maris' HR record for most homers by a Yankee 61 set back in 1961.
Judge rejected the Yankees' $213.5 million 7-year deal he was offered prior to opening day. This season Judge is having a career, record-book year (60 HRs 128 RBIs batting .314) at the right time as he's a free agent at season's end. His contract value continues to rise rapidly.
The fact that an MLB team offered Juan Soto an unheard of $440 million had to be music to Judge and his agent's ears. Judge can play CF, RF, and be a DH. He's considered to be a good outfielder with a strong arm. Granted Soto is 7 years younger but still, a team was willing to pay a player a record-breaking amount will be an additive to Judge's contract negotiations at the season's end.
Judge avoided an arbitration hearing which was scheduled for June 24th. The two sides agreed on a deal. He agreed to a one-year, $19 million contract plus incentives for this season. The incentives include an additional $250,000 if he was to win an MVP Award and another $250,000 if he was to be the World Series MVP.
Cashman had this to say after Judge rejected the Yankees' contract extension offer. "Obviously, our intent is to have Aaron Judge stay as a New York Yankee as we move forward, and I know that is his intent as well, which is a good thing. We're going to be entering those efforts in a new arena, which would be at the end of the season when free agency starts, and maybe that will determine what the real market value would be because we certainly couldn't agree at this stage on a contract extension."
Let's compare Judge this season to a selected handful of players that got $300 million or more contract extensions and their 2022 stats.
37 HRs 77 RBIs .276 (12 years $426.5 million, signed at age 27 in 2019)
25 HRs 103 RBIs .274 (10 years, $341 million signed at age 27 in 2021)
Fernando Tatis (12 years, $340 million signed at age 22 in 2021)
Yet to play in 2022 recovering from a broken wrist. He's on the 60-day IL and then got suspended foolishly for 80-games for using PED.
Tatis' 2021 Stats: 42 HRs 97 RBIs .282
18 HRs 61 RBIs .287 (13 years, $330 million signed at 27 in 2020)
31 HRs 100 RBIs .299 (10 years, $300 million signed at 26 in 2020 at age 27)
Judge is a homegrown Yankee who has become a star. In 2017 the former 1st round draft pick was selected 32nd overall and won Rookie of the Year. That same year he led the league in homers with 52 while driving in 114 runs and batting .284.
Does Judge want Mike Trout money? Or is seeking a deal similar to what the Mets paid Lindor?
So what is Judge worth? With the year he's having, he will be worth much more that the Yankees contract extension offer. He almost for sure will get a much better offer from multiple teams especially if he wins the AL MVP Award which is very likely.
I'm sure the Yankees will sweeten their offer There is such a thing still as Yankee pride. I can't envision them letting him walk away.
However, I can see the San Francisco Giants making him an offer he may not be able to refuse. Remember he's from the Fresno area of California.
I think the offer he accepts will be in the $300 million range. I don't see the Yankees going that high. As a New York baseball fan, I want to be wrong. The Yankees hopefully will go big money for 6-7 years and hope he stays.
CJ Kelly from the PNW on March 18, 2018:
I read about his contract this week and was shocked. With the strongest union in sports, you would think the MLBPA would have a mechanism for first-time arbitration. I'm sure they will renegotiate this in the next bargaining sessions. But his payday will come soon.