Back in early April, New York Yankees General Manager Brian Cashman offered Aaron Judge a massive contract. It was worth $30.5 million annually over eight years, coming in at a total value of $232.5 million. In terms of length and amount, contracts don’t get much better than that.
Judge bet on himself. He told reporters that he would speak to all “30 teams” when he hits free agency at the end of the season. He made it clear that those 30 teams included the Yankees, meaning he was open to an extension deal, albeit an expensive one.
This all happened before the regular season started — back when Judge was just one of the best players in the league. Now, in late June, Judge is the best player in the league. He’s hit 25 home runs and is batting .301 on the season. His on-base plus slugging percentage is a whopping 1.026.
Nobody is criticizing him anymore for betting on himself. Judge thought he deserved to be the MLB’s highest-paid player. Now he’s proving it. The biggest drawback is that he’s 30 years old and has a decorated injury history. But who can say “no” to his offensive output?
With an arbitration meeting coming up on Friday, June 24, the New York Yankees are now trying to extend Aaron Judge’s contract. Prior to the hearing, the Yankees came in with an early offer of $17 million annually. It’s no surprise that Judge came in higher at $21 million.
“Aaron Judge and the Yankees are still scheduled for their arbitration hearing tomorrow. No sign of progress in talks yet. The Yankees submitted $17M, Judge $21M.” – @Jon Heyman
But both those numbers are far lower than the $30.5 million he was offered in April. In the middle of a career-best season, is there any chance Judge accepts such a dip in pay?
It’s not likely. The meeting was originally scheduled for Wednesday but was moved to Friday at the last minute. Here’s what Judge had to say in anticipation of the arbitration hearing.
“Aaron Judge on tomorrow’s arbitration hearing: ‘It’s all business. For me, it’s plain and simple: I love this team, I love this organization and everything, but this is a business side of it that I don’t like at times.'” – @Bryan Hoch
Will Aaron Judge opt to stay with the New York Yankees?
Aaron Judge has made it clear that he loves playing for the New York Yankees. He’s the central piece on the league’s best team this season, which is exactly what every star strives to be. At this rate, the Yankees are clear World Series favorites.
However, if they can’t extend Judge’s contract this week, it’s hard to say how things will play out. They can’t trade him and destroy their World Series hopes.
Cashman will also have a hard time allowing him to hit the open market this offseason. Such a choice would negate the possibility of receiving a trade return for Judge, which would be sizeable.
Will the league’s current home run king opt to stay in New York, even if only on a short-term deal? That question will be answered this Friday.
Stay up to date on all of Aaron Judge’s news on the Sportskeeda Baseball page.