As of Thursday morning, neither the New York Yankees or Aaron Judge know how much the outfielder is going to make this season. As the two sides exchanged figures several weeks ago, they couldn’t agree on a 2022 salary, so they need to go to salary arbitration.
As the Yankees know perhaps too well (remember the Dellin Betances arbitration case?) these hearings can get nasty. It’s not natural, or pleasant, for a player to have his own team looking at weaknesses and deficiencies in order to try and reduce his potential earnings.
The Yankees offered to pay Judge $17 million in his final season of arbitration eligibility; while the player filed for $21 million. In the hearing, the arbitrator will side with one of the two parties: it will be either $21 million or $17 million, with no middle point.
The Yankees wanted to extend Judge but he decided to wait for free agency
As a reminder, the Yankees offered Judge a $213 million contract extension right before the start of the regular season, but he turned it down, betting on himself and become a free agent after the campaign. So far, that bet is paying off, as he is having one of the best seasons of his career: .288/.352/.613 with a league-leading 10 home runs, including an impressive walk-off blast a couple of days ago.
The date for Judge’s arbitration hearing is now set: it will be, according to the New York Post, on June 22. As a rule, his 2022 numbers can’t be used as an argument in any way for the hearing, so his performance up until 2021 will be evaluated.
Still, he was brilliant last year, too, with 39 homers, 98 RBI, and a .916 OPS. There is still a chance that Judge and the Yankees agree on a one-year deal before the hearing, but the star outfielder does not want to negotiate a long-term pact during the season.