New York Yankees star Aaron Judge will be a free agent after the season ends. He famously bet on himself during spring training, when the team offered him a seven-year, $213.5 million deal and he turned that down.
It wasn’t a bad offer by the Yankees in hindsight, but Judge knew he was capable of having a great season if health was on his side. Fortunately for him, that has been exactly the case, and he has had the best offensive season in MLB since early-2000s Barry Bonds.
Judge is slashing .314/.427/.695 with 61 home runs, 130 runs, 130 RBI, and 16 stolen bases. He has accumulated 11.1 Wins Above Replacement (WAR) and has an otherworldly 210 wRC+. Will the Yankees be able to return him, now that his price tag has probably exceeded $300 million?
Can the Yankees compete with other offers?
Yankees play-by-play announcer for YES Network Michael Kay weighed in and offered his thoughts over the situation.
“I give him a 60% chance of signing with the Yankees again . . . if it gets to ten years I don’t think the Yankees will go there,” Kay stated.
Judge has been so good this year that it might not be crazy that the bidding goes as high as ten years. It’s highly unlikely (he is 30 years old), but not impossible.
There will be plenty of interest in Judge, but the Yankees should be wary of two teams in particular: the New York Mets and the Los Angeles Dodgers. They both have excellent projects, competitive teams, and a boatload of money to offer Judge.
In the end, he is likely to return to the Bronx, but the Yankees will need to pay him. There is no other way around it.
At least the player has made it clear in the past that he prefers to return. The Yanks need to make it happen.