Yankees could have to fend off arch-rival for Aaron Judge on monster extension

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Sep 5, 2022; Bronx, New York, USA; New York Yankees center fielder Aaron Judge (99) points to the dugout after hitting a two run home run in the sixth inning against the Minnesota Twins at Yankee Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Yankees may be struggling to put together wins at the present moment, but star slugger Aaron Judge continues to rake, hitting his 54th homer of the season against the Minnesota Twins on Monday afternoon.

In fact, Judge has elevated his batting average to .302, tied for 11th in the league. He ranks 1st in all of Major League Baseball with 54 homers, 117 RBIs, and a 1.085 OPS. To start September, Judge has hit three homers, hitting one in each of his last three games to go with four RBIs.

What the baseball world is witnessing is historical. There’s a legitimate chance Aaron reaches 60 homers by the end of the season, smashing his previous record of 52 back in 2017.

However, Judge has a big decision to make after the 2022 season comes to an end. He’s most certainly increased his price tag substantially, as general manager Brian Cashman offered him $31.5 million per year before the regular season started.

He is in line to break $35 million with ease, and Cashman’s strategy is falling apart at the seams as Judge smashes records and carries the Yankees to the postseason after a tough second half.

Competition for Aaron Judge’s signature lurks on the horizon:

There’s a real possibility that Cashman might have to fend off multiple teams to retain the Yankees’ best player. There’s simply no way they can replace him on the open market, meaning they will have to pay the 30-year-old outfielder on a long-term contract.

Losing Judge to another club would be devastating, but for Yankee fans, losing him to the Red Sox would be perilous.

The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal stated that the Red Sox have the financial freedom to lock up Judge on a long-term contract.

In the outfield, a run at Aaron Judge would make sense, if only to drive up the price for the Yankees. But the more realistic names on the open market would include (Kiké) Hernández, Brandon Nimmo, Mitch Haniger and Kevin Kiermaier (in the likely event the Rays decline his $13 million option).

Unfortunately, Boston has $45 million in non-allocated money compared to the Yankees’ guarantees for the 2023 season. With that being the case, they have plenty of cash flow if they wanted to make a serious run at Judge, which is possible since they could use the outfield support and still have a solid roster composed of several key names like Rafael Devers and Xander Bogaerts.

If the Yankees don’t retain Judge, he might want to take his talents out to the West Coast, closer to home. However, if Boston offers him a significant amount of money, it might be hard to say no. Logic would say that if Cashman wants to keep his job, letting the team’s marquee player go to their arch-rivals will not come to fruition.