Yankees: Aaron Judge’s contract demands take an interesting turn

aaron judge, yankees
Oct 4, 2022; Arlington, Texas, USA; New York Yankees right fielder Aaron Judge (99) rounds the bases after hitting home run number sixty-two to break the American League home run record in the first inning against the Texas Rangers at Globe Life Field. Mandatory Credit: Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Yankees had an offer on the table for superstar slugger Aaron Judge that lasted eight years and $300 million. Essentially, that would pay him $37.5 million per year, but according to new reports, his demands have slightly changed, looking for even more length on a prospective contract.

The way the free-agent market for Aaron Judge is developing, it appears increasingly likely the winning bid will be for nine guaranteed years, sources involved in the negotiations say.

Per Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic

The Yankees may need to push beyond their comfort zone for Aaron Judge:

If the Bombers end up signing Judge do a new deal that lasts nine years, he’ll be 39 when it eventually expires. They could build in a club option later down the line, but you can essentially guarantee that Judge’s performance will drop off at some point in the future, and his qualities will only be serviceable as a designated hitter.

Realistically, the Yankees have a five-year window where Judge is still in his prime before the contract bogs down the team significantly and stops them from making additional moves.

Having started negotiations at seven years, $213.5 million before spring training in 2022, Judge has come a long way toward bolstering his value. During a historic season, Judge hit .311 with a 42.5% on-base rate, 62 homers, 131 RBIs, and 16 stolen bases. He won the MVP award, and it wasn’t even debatable, cashing in big time after taking a risky bet on himself.

However, with the San Francisco Giants and Los Angeles Dodgers interested in his services, free agency could ultimately force an extra year to be tacked onto the deal. Considering the Texas Rangers just signed Jacob deGrom to a five-year, $185 million contract, Judge is in line to nearly double that number.

Seemingly, only the Giants and Yankees are willing to give him a long-term deal with record-breaking money, whereas the Dodgers are believed to only want a short-term contract with higher money, according to Rosenthal.

This is certainly an interesting situation for Brian Cashman to navigate, given interest from other teams, but Judge has stated he prefers to stay with the Yankees, so they do have a bit of leverage and need to move fast before other top free agents are plucked off the market.

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