Yankees reportedly expected to finish hefty Aaron Judge extension


When you’re the New York Yankees and you happen to stumble upon a talent like Aaron Judge — homegrown, marketable, and built unlike any baseball player we’ve ever seen, except for the man who hits behind him — you do everything in your power to keep him around.

Yes, even if the price tag forces your precious budget too high. Yes, even if the later years of the deal end up a mess. And yes, even if you have to raise chicken bucket prices 15 cents a pound.

Yankee fans have grown pessimistic in recent weeks (months? years?) about the likelihood the team will spend on Judge — or in any capacity to improve the roster around him if they actually did pull the trigger.

Add in the arbitration clash, where only Judge and the Yankees filed apart from each other while the team settled with every other rostered player, and it felt like the team was gearing up for a fight instead of a negotiating deadline.

While it’s still entirely unclear whether the team will spend from this point forward, it at least appears they’re willing to go above and beyond to retain Judge.

According to Mark Feinsand’s pair of industry sources, the Yankees are likely to come to an agreement with Judge on a lengthy extension ahead of the slugger’s self-imposed Opening Day deadline. Estimations differ on whether the deal will be for seven or eight years, but regardless, the money should be quite thick.

Aaron Judge extension with Yankees reportedly coming

According to Feinsand’s reporting:

"The two sides exchanged arbitration numbers last week, with Judge asking for $21 million and the Yankees offering $17 million. The $4 million gap between the sides is one of the largest in arbitration history, setting up a high-stakes hearing.Assuming it gets that far.Two industry sources said they expect the Yankees and Judge to complete an extension before the April 7 opener, rendering the filing numbers moot. One source predicted a seven-year, $245 million extension for Judge, which would take him through his age-36 season, while the other pegged the deal at eight years and $265 million."

Wow, set ’em up, knock ’em down, huh, Mark? Get Yankee fans all bummed out about an arbitration clash, only to assuage their fears in a major way.

While there are plenty of ramifications of theoretically “overpaying” Judge, fans should always remember that there shouldn’t be. The most profitable team in baseball built their offseason around absorbing no more than three massive deals — Judge, Giancarlo Stanton, Gerrit Cole — and, for now, that’s where they’re stopping. Who’s to say they don’t change their tune in the years to come, though, if a title continues to elude them?

While the frustration about passing on ideal targets like Bryce Harper and Manny Machado during Judge and Stanton’s prime is fair, the team being willing to extend the face of their franchise remains a big step forward.

Feinsand’s reporting also revealed the important nugget that the draft pick compensation, not the short-term price tag, was what scared the Yankees away from Carlos Correa.

If the Yanks are theoretically willing and able to absorb short-term cash windfalls (like Josh Donaldson?) in future years to keep Judge and Co. happy, that wouldn’t be a bad way to deal with this budget crisis, either.

Until the ink is dry, it’s fair to fret about a sudden pivot or fracture in the negotiations. For now, though, it seems the Yankees and Judge’s plan will be coming to fruition, with the only remaining question being whether this is the final major expenditure of the era.