With the 2022 season officially over for the New York Yankees, their full attention now turns to retaining superstar slugger Aaron Judge. Judge will undoubtedly have other suitors on the market willing to pay his price tag, but the Yankees would like to match and retain him after a historic regular season.
Judge hit .311 with a 42.5% on-base rate, including 62 homers and 131 RBIs. Even if he meets in the middle between the 2021 and 2022 seasons regarding overall numbers, he will be worth every penny, not to mention his fantastic defensive capabilities.
However, at 30 years old, the Yankees may want to refrain from giving him a 10-year deal but rather pay him more money over a short amount of time (seven years). Even if they decide to take that route, they may get outbid by a West Coast team, the San Francisco Giants, who are preparing a monster offer for the 6-foot-7 slugger.
According to Randy Miller of NJ.com, the Yankees will have their work cut out for them to sign Judge:
“Judge is at the top of the Giants list and they won’t be underbid,” the person said. “If they miss out, it won’t be because of money.”
Some believe that Judge could earn upward of $40 million per season on a shorter deal, which is realistic if the Yankees want to keep the years down. They do have a bit of money coming off the books themselves, with Zack Britton, Aroldis Chapman, and Joey Gallo all off the roster. There is also a chance they try to offload Josh Donaldson and Aaron Hicks, which would clear about $35 million, nearly enough to sign Judge on his own.
The Giants, however, face a similar reality. They have a ton of money coming off the books and are ready to spend big on arguably the game’s best player.
“The Giants are not going to stop with Judge,” the person said. “They have so much money freed up.”
The Yankees have a bit of leverage, but they can’t low-ball Aaron Judge:
Judge did indicate that his desire is to stay in pinstripes beyond the 2022 season, but it is easier said than done when a team is willing to give you a blank check.
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Since San Francisco won about 50% of their games and is looking to make a playoff push next season, Judge could be the missing link they need to give them realistic competitive opportunities. The Yankees might’ve missed the playoffs altogether without Judge in the lineup and featuring in the outfield, so there is a real expectation that he can turn an average team into a playoff-caliber one.
The Giants don’t only have a ton of money to drop on a monster contract, they also represent Aaron Judge’s hometown. He was raised only about 90 minutes from San Francisco, so he would be closer to home, which could play a part in his decision.
While the Giants are ready to back up the Brinks truck for Judge, the Yankees won’t go down fighting and are preparing a substantial offer over the $31.5 million per year they conjured up before the season begin.