New York Yankees: Is Aaron Judge about to cash in after 2020?

Alexander Wilson
New York Yankees, Aaron Judge
Mar 3, 2019; Tampa, FL, USA; New York Yankees right fielder Aaron Judge (99) runs the bases after hitting a two run home run during the fifth inning against the Detroit Tigers at George M. Steinbrenner Field. Mandatory Credit: Butch Dill-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Yankees have a big decision to make in the coming months — do they extend Aaron Judge on a massive deal and retain one of the best hitters in baseball?

Some would say, “absolutely,” but others would suggest that his injury history doesn’t justify spending big money. Recently on an episode of ESPN’s Baseball Tonight podcast, host Buster Olney answered a question regarding a potential extension down the line.

Q: With Aaron Judge’s run of injuries recently, do you see the Yankees reluctant to lock him up to an extension in the near future, similar to how many of Judge’s peers have signed long-term extensions?

A: I don’t think there’s an extension on the horizon, but I don’t think it’s necessarily related to Judge’s injuries,” Olney said. “I’ve talked to agents and club executives about this: The idea of trying to place valuations on players now, given current events, is just about impossible. We don’t know how much revenues will be. We don’t know the impact of economic slowdown will be on Major League Baseball. I suspect that right now, teams would just lock their money in a vault and wait to see what will come out on the other end. While you can see why there might be discussions with Judge on a long-term deal, I don’t think anyone has any idea what his value will be on the other end of this thing.”

The New York Yankees have time on their side:

With the way baseball is progressing, the regular season will be chopped down significantly, and Judge is still recovering from a rib stress fracture and collapsed lung that was undiagnosed for months. He also battled injury in 2019, missing 62 games. Giving upward of $300 million could be problematic for a player who has enjoyed just one healthy season (2017); however, we have seen the fruits of a healthy season with Judge, which is where the attraction is in offering an extension.

The Yankees’ slugger will be a free agent in 2022, so they have time to make a decision on his future with the team, but he must return to full health and prove he can stay that way. There’s is no rush for GM Brian Cashman to dive into the deep end at the moment, so I wouldn’t expect any deal to come to fruition in the coming months.