The New York Yankees and star slugger Aaron Judge are headed toward a tumultuous off-season after the 2022 campaign comes to an end. General manager Brian Cashman failed to extend a reasonable offer to Judge, who was looking for a monster contract after his final season of arbitration.
Judge turned down a seven-year deal worth $30.5 million per season, a ludicrous number that only a fool would reject. However, sometimes the fool can turn out on top, as Judge bet on himself and is seemingly going to cash out big time because of the risk.
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Aaron Judge is having a stellar season:
Judge is composing an MVP-caliber season, hitting .318 with a 39% on-base rate and .686 slugging percentage. His 24 homers lead the MLB by a significant margin. He’s also posting a 24.9% strikeout rate, 5% below his career average, and an 11.3% walk rate, indicating patience at the plate.
While a contract extension waits in the wings, the Yankees are still battling Judge’s representatives on his arbitration case. Cashman offered $17 million to settle the case after Judge asked for $21 million. It is likely they settle somewhere in the middle before diving into the extension.
The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal stated that the Yankees are still trying to settle on Judge’s 2022 arbitration number, let alone execute an extension:
A long-term agreement in the coming days would appear to be a longshot — the Yankees would be negotiating with Judge at the peak of his value. The best move for the Yankees likely would be to reach a settlement with Judge before his hearing, then continue working on the bigger deal.
Judge is set for a monstrous salary increase year after the 2022 campaign. Considering he rejected $30.5 million per season, there’s a good chance he reaches upward of $35 million.
A contract of that magnitude would still fall short of Mike Trout’s 12-year, $426.5 million deal. It is more likely that Judge will land a deal in the 8-year range worth $288 million, allowing the Yankees to get out when he turns 38 years old.
There’s always a chance the Yankees decide to let him walk, reinvesting the money in many players instead of just a single star. However, if the Bombers end up winning the World Series this season, Cashman will be hard-pressed to retain the team’s best player.