Prior to Friday’s Opening Day contest between the New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox, Brian Cashman called a last-ditch press conference not to announce a jubilant Aaron Judge extension, but rather to hang a cloud over the forthcoming season.
Cashman revealed that the Yankees’ most recently-dangled number was for $30.5 million annually for seven additional years after 2022, taking Judge through his age-37 season; the right-fielder celebrates his 30th birthday on April 26.
Instead, Judge opted to delay further negotiations until after the end of the season, denying a number that seemed relatively reasonable in the eyes of most Yankee fans.
What, then, was he looking for? Was Judge simply betting on himself, hoping he could nudge the Yankees’ offer up marginally with another fully-healthy, MVP-level campaign? Or did he have grand designs to blow Cashman’s offer out of the water, however fanciful that seems right now?
Kuty’s got Judge’s camp’s ask pegged at a full nine years, taking Judge through the age of 39. The AAV reportedly wasn’t to Judge’s liking, either, though no one knows what his maximum is.
Yankees’ Aaron Judge wants nine-year contract, over $30.5 million AAV
The details Cashman self-reported on Friday — and again, we don’t know about catches, deferrals, or the tenor of the conversation — would’ve made Judge the second-highest-paid outfielder in baseball history in terms of AAV, behind only Mike Trout’s megadeal. It would have, however, left him below his teammate Giancarlo Stanton’s $32 million mark — a contract the Yankees didn’t dole out, but chose to absorb portions of.
Is that something that might appease Judge? Sneaking past Stanton’s number? It’s difficult to imagine the Yankees would go much higher or deliver record-breaking totals, so if Judge’s ambitions go that high, he’s likely looking elsewhere.
More jarring than the AAV demand, though, is the expectation of a nine-year deal. Typically, the Yankees prefer to extend a player’s deal by an extra season to lower the AAV hit, like DJ LeMahieu’s six-year contract. But seven vs. nine? And taking the completely unique Judge, without a reasonably bodily comparison, all the way up until he’s nearly 40? That seems like an almost impossible ask for the Bombers, not to mention something that’s hard to envision on the open market.
If Judge’s camp feels uncomfortable potentially compromising his value before a huge walk year, and plans to reengage the Yankees when the season ends, that’s one thing. But if the numbers Judge’s “source” are leaking are this far removed from both the reality of the situation and Cashman’s figures, then perhaps he’s just trying to paint as different a picture as possible ahead of walking.