Yankees: Projecting what an Aaron Judge extension might look like


It’s time for the Yankees to have that old Aaron Judge extension conversation again.

Aaron Judge has felt like the preordained future captain of the New York Yankees since the start of his transcendent 2017 season.

The only things standing in the way? A knock-down, drag-out financial fight, or a career downturn, brought on by myriad injuries.

Judge has never seemed to be the kind of player to take his front office to task over perceived slights and minor squabbles. He also hasn’t quite had a leg to stand on these past few years when it pertains to long-term security.

Though most of his injuries have been freakish in nature — whether you’re 25 or 38, nobody wants to get drilled in the wrist by Jakob Junis — some have questioned how well his body will age in the game of baseball. It’s a body, mind you, unlike any we’ve seen before.

Nobody, however, has questioned the talent. The prodigious power, the on-base skills, the marquee defense in right. And therefore, whenever Judge is clicking on all cylinders (and that is certainly happening now), it feels like the time to bring up a potential extension to keep him in the Bronx, ostensibly, forever.


Judge, freshly 28, will be under Yankees control through his age-30 season, and would theoretically hit free agency in the winter of 2023.

He’s also got very few comparables to work with here.

Judge is not, after all, Mike Trout, a perfect baseball specimen whose aging curve a third-grader could project with some semblance of veracity. He’s also not Mookie Betts, whose extension came far closer to free agency, and whose future seems fairly assured, but whose height is on the opposite end of the spectrum from Judge’s, though still somewhat troubling for an advanced age projection. After all, don’t small hitters lose their pop as everything slows down?

Therefore, Betts’ ridiculous contract (12 years, $365 million after 2020) feels like a baseline in terms of AAV, but the two deals likely won’t line up at all when it comes to length.

Aaron Judge contract projection

Let’s assume Judge’s final few years of arbitration get bought out, and the extension gets signed in earnest this offseason. The Yankees were harrowed by the pandemic. They don’t want to think of a future without Judge. Therefore, this seems likely to turn into an eight-year deal? Two arb years, plus ages 31-36, with the likelihood of Jeter-like “superstar” deals after that. Judge should still be a brand name. He’ll probably get bloated one-year contracts ad infinitum afterwards.

If we take Betts as a precedent and downgrade it slightly, how does eight years and $250 million sound?

Factor this in, too: Judge has never been anything but team-focused, while also projecting an air of inevitability about his longevity in New York.

Perhaps the laconic pace of his extension conversation can be pinned thusly; maybe the Yankees and Judge aren’t explicitly talking about adding years to his deal because both parties know, when the time comes, neither one has any interest in untangling their respective brands.

For a long time, it appeared the Yankees would be under the gun, forced to extend Judge, Luis Severino, Gleyber Torres and Gary Sanchez all at the same deadline. Now, Sevy’s locked in on a sweetheart deal (and comes with plenty of concerns of his own), while I’d argue Sanchez is playing himself out of being an extension candidate, let alone a shoo-in. Now that Gerrit Cole’s in the Bronx long-term, Judge is certainly the top priority, as well as Torres, before he approaches his peak.

The clock is now officially ticking. As goofy as it sounds, this eight-game sample to start 2020, coupled with the Betts deal, has finally put the pressure on.