- Aaron Judge will return to the Yankees on a nine-year, $360 million contract.
- Judge turned down an extension from the Yankees last offseason that was worth $213.5 million.
- After betting on himself, he broke the American League home run record and increased his new contract by nearly $150 million.
Aaron Judge’s gamble on himself paid off Wednesday when the Yankees slugger agreed to a nine-year, $360 million deal that will keep him in pinstripes for the foreseeable future.
—Buster Olney (@Buster_ESPN) December 7, 2022
The news that Judge would be staying in New York came just a day later. an overeager tweet MLB insider Jon Heyman connected Judge to the San Francisco Giants.
While the tweet was deleted, the feeling that Judge might make the jump was in the ether, with monstrous offers from both the Giants and Padres on the table to potentially lure the reigning AL MVP.
Instead, Judge opted to stay with the Yankees, but it didn’t come cheap.
—Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) December 7, 2022
For Judge, the new deal represents a huge win after betting himself on the 2022 season.
Judge entered the year knowing that free agency was on the horizon. Before the start of the 2022 season, Judge turned down a $213.5 million offer from the Yankees that would have kept him in New York for seven more years, an offer made public by Yankees general manager Brian Cashman.
“It bothered me a little that the numbers came out,” Judge told TIME magazine recently from your previous offer. “I understand it’s a negotiation tactic. Putting pressure on me. Turning the fans against me, turning the media against me. I didn’t like that part.”
Turns out, for Judge, the pressure made diamonds.
If the Yankees had privately increased their offer during the offseason, there’s a chance Judge’s contract would have been easily resolved. Instead, Judge bet on himself, leaving his game for the 2022 season to determine his next contract. It was a decision that came with many risks but also many potential rewards.
Had Judge faltered until 2022, seen his power numbers drop or suffered a career-changing injury, turning down more than $200 million could have left him with a lifetime of regret. Conversely, with a great year, Judge could enter the open market and earn an even bigger payday.
Judge’s gamble itself paid off to an almost unimaginable degree, hitting 62 home runs to break the American League record held by Roger Maris since 1961. He was named American League MVP, and clearly there is no better. time to be named “Most Valuable” than just before its value is about to be measured in millions.
—Joe Pompliano (@JoePompliano) December 7, 2022
In early 2022, the Yankees offered Judge $30.5 million per season to stay with the team for seven more years. By December, they agreed to pay him $40 million a year for the next nine seasons.
Betting on yourself is risky, but as Judge learned, when you win, you win big.