The New York Yankees are facing an uphill battle to extend star slugger Aaron Judge, especially after failing to offer him a reasonable deal before the 2022 season began.
General manager Brian Cashman presented Judge’s representatives with a seven-year contract that would’ve paid him $30.5 million per season.
Obviously, Judge declined that offer without hesitation, betting on himself in hopes of earning a deal upwards of $35 million per season.
So far, Judge is on the MVP trail, hitting .282 with a 36.2% on base rate and .619 slugging percentage. He has a 173 wRC+, the second-highest of his career, indicating he is 73% better than the average MLB player.
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The Yankees should pay Aaron Judge:
His statistics mirror the contract extension he’s going to land, whether it be from the Yankees or another team. He features a career-best 60% hard-hit rate, 24.7% barrel rate, and 95.4 mph of exit velocity. He’s already hit 29 homers this season over 78 games, well on his way to recording over 60, which would smash his previous record of 52.
However, former Yankee slugger Alex Rodriguez believes that Judge has only a “50% chance” of returning to the Yankees after they lowballed him prior to the beginning of the season (per the New York Post).
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Rodriguez spoke about Judge’s impact in the Bronx and how he seamlessly fits their mold. Replacing a player like Judge isn’t so simple, especially since they’ve groomed him from day one to become one of the best players in baseball.
As the team’s 32nd overall pick back in 2013, Judge and the Yankees are now in the best scenario possible. The fact he’s in line to be one of the highest-paid baseball players in history is a clear indication that the Yankees developed him well, but Rodriguez still believes the probability of him leaving is quite high.
Unfortunately for Cashman, there is no replacing Aaron Judge beyond the 2022 season. The team will be a shell of itself without him, considering he’s contributing an unbelievable amount of production.
Just last week, Judge helped steal two games from the Houston Astros in a four-game series. He collected two walk-off hits, including a home run in extra innings. With that type of clutch factor and his reliable in the health department, the Yankees would be foolish to let him walk.