And just like that … Aaron Judge’s unofficial tenure with the San Francisco Giants has begun! Just kidding. But there will be no long-term extension for the New York Yankees slugger after he rejected the team’s final overture before Opening Day.
According to general manager Brian Cashman, who held a presser over an hour before the first pitch of the season, the Yankees offered Judge a contract with an AAV of $30.5 million over seven years, beginning next season. Other reports suggested the total deal, including his 2022 arbitration salary, was just over $230 million, so it’s unclear what the agreed 2022 salary actually would’ve been under these circumstances.
Cashman said he’d be open to discussing a contract during the season, but Judge set the deadline for Opening Day. Additionally, the GM added that the two sides will re-engage after the season, so it’s clear there’s no hard feelings about what had happened (at least we hope!).
In all likelihood, Judge will play out the season on a one-year deal at either $17 million or $21 million (or somewhere in between), depending upon the eventual settlement. But if the Yankees were smart, they’d just give Judge his requested $21 million to have him feeling better leading up to the next round of negotiations in eight months.
So what does this mean? Where do the Yankees go from here? Should fans be worried about Judge’s future with the organization?
Earlier in the offseason, some contract comparisons arose with Anthony Rendon’s seven-year, $245 million deal with the Los Angeles Angels after the 2019 season. Is that what Judge is shooting for?
Aaron Judge rejected the Yankees’ final contract extension offer
Rendon’s contract has a $35 million AAV, but he’s a third baseman and had a much more lengthy track record (and was year younger) when he hit free agency after 2019.
Among outfielders, however, Judge’s $30.5 million AAV starting in 2023 would’ve only trailed Mike Trout, whose $37.16 million AAV is the highest among any position player in MLB. Judge’s contract would’ve had him above Bryce Harper, Mookie Betts, Christian Yelich and George Springer. Fellow teammate Giancarlo Stanton, who’s mostly a DH at this point in his career, would’ve been ahead of Judge at $32 million.
Aaron Judge’s salary for the 2022 season is still unclear
Among right fielders, Judge would’ve been the highest paid on an AAV basis by $3 million, with Harper ($27.5 million), Betts ($25 million) and Jason Heyward ($24.5 million) the next closest had he accepted the Yankees’ offer.
But maybe there’s something we don’t know here? Were there team opt outs? Were they not willing to offer a full no-trade clause? Was there deferred money? It’s worth wondering.
It’s hard to fault the Yankees here if Judge had gotten just about everything he wanted at $30.5 million per season. Usually we’re quick to criticize and eviscerate the front office over personnel decisions, but the information here seems fair and reasonable.
But it’s never easy with the Yankees, is it? Not even when a match made in heaven seems like a layup.