The Yankees couldn’t let him go, and Aaron Judge couldn’t leave the Bronx.
After a historic year, the slugger earned himself a huge contract from the Bombers. Judge and the Yankees have agreed to a deal that will pay him $360 million over nine years, sources confirmed Wednesday morning.
That’s $130 million more than the offer the Bombers had on the table on Opening Day, when Judge left angry with the team for revealing the deal. His feeling that the Yankees were trying to turn the fan base against him.
However, Judge did not give in to the pressure and bet on himself. He not only turned down the extension offer, but also the Yankees’ contract offer through 2022 and prepared to go to arbitration. The Yankees paid $2 million more than they wanted to avoid a nasty arbitration battle and are paying now.
Judge, who also flirted with his hometown Giants during this free agent process, had a historic season, putting to rest doubts about his ability to stay healthy and putting up MVP-like numbers — while playing mostly on the central field.
He led the majors with 62 home runs and a 10.6 WAR and was tied with the Mets’ Pete Alonso with 131 RBI. The 62 home runs broke a 61-year-old American League and Yankees single-season home run record. It is the seventh-most hit single season in baseball history.
The 30-year-old was clearly unhappy on Opening Day when, after turning down the Yankees’ eight-year extension offer — which, including 2022, would have been worth $230 million — GM Brian Cashman walked out and presented the details of what he had. he left from
“I don’t like to talk numbers, I like to keep those private. It was something that I felt was private between my team and the Yankees,” Judge said at the time. It was something that bothered him all year, refusing to comment on the process while he was coming off his best season.
Still, Judge has always made it clear that he’d like to play out his entire career with the Yankees — if they’re fair.
Last month when won the American League Most Valuable Player awardhe expressed how special playing here was for him.
“To have the chance to wear the pinstripes and play right field at Yankee Stadium, it’s an incredible honor that I certainly didn’t take for granted at any point,” Judge said. “I always check myself before the game when I say a little prayer and look around the stadium and pinch myself. There have been very few people that have had the chance to run in that field and do that and play in front of the fans that have supported us over the six years we’ve been here.
“So it was a special moment, you know, just kicking myself for not bringing them home that championship.”
The judge will have another chance now, but it will never be as simple as re-signing him. He failed to get past the Astros in three trips to the American League Championship Series. The Yankees will now have to find a way to improve the team with Judge’s monstrous contract, along with huge chunks of salary dedicated to Giancarlo Stanton and Gerrit Cole.
This certainly also gives him a chance to erase a rather poor performance in the 2022 playoffs (.139/.184/.306 with two home runs, 15 hits and a .490 OPS), about which some felt was a sign of exhaustion from his home run. tracking.
Judge has always been partial to Yankees history and ceremony. Now, his history is intertwined with the club.
He opened 2016 with a home run in his first big league game, foreshadowing his time in pinstripes. He may have struggled the rest of that season, but in 2017 he left no doubt that he would be the leader of this homegrown “Baby Bombers” team.
He was the American League Rookie of the Year in 2017, hitting .284/.422/.627 with a career-high 52 homers and 114 RBI. He would finish second in AL MVP voting to Jose Altuve of the Astros.