Why Aaron Judge’s future contract can’t be compared to previous stars


Let it commence! Aaron Judge’s contract situation with the New York Yankees died down a week after he rejected the team’s seven-year, $213.5 million extension offer just before Opening Day.

But here we are a month later and Judge is tearing the cover off the ball, prompting national pundits and analysts to predict how much money the slugger might earn in free agency (or from the Yankees before the season ends) should he continue on this trajectory.

It’s a necessary assignment because of how magnified a topic it is in the baseball landscape. However, it’s nuanced and potentially unlike anything fans have seen in recent years.

Judge sells tickets in the biggest market in the world. He’s the face of the Yankees and arguably the face of baseball. There’s no price tag that can be placed on his influenced and exposure to baseball fans at-large. Judge is essentially like the top salesman at any company — you kind of can’t argue with their raise demands based on the amount of money they bring in.

And though we don’t have access to the Yankees’ exact revenue as it pertains to Judge, we can easily point to the fact he’s had a top selling jersey in MLB for years now. He stands at 6-foot-7 and 282 pounds — a stature perhaps unlike any other athlete with his jaw-dropping set of abilities the sport has ever seen.

The Judge’s Chambers exist in right field at Yankee Stadium. He has his own section for groupies! And Judge’s arrival can directly be correlated with growing profits.

You cannot compare Aaron Judge’s future contract with Yankees to that of previous star players

Per Statista, outside of the 2020 shortened COVID season and the 2021 campaign that was also complicated due to aftershocks from the global pandemic, the Yankees witness three straight record-setting revenue years from 2017-2019. They were massive, too — a near $100 million leap from 2016 to 2017, and then $49 million and $15 million. That’s a grand total of $160 million across three years upon Judge’s arrival.

Think that’s just a coincidence? Yes, overall rising costs have played a role, but when you think “Yankees” — the most popular sports team on planet Earth — you think “Aaron Judge.” We don’t make the rules, that’s just what has happened.

So, while we appreciate looking back on the contracts of Alex Rodriguez ($275 million), Miguel Cabrera ($248 million, Robinson Cano ($240 million) and Albert Pujols ($240 million), it’s not really applicable.

Judge, if he continues on this MVP run, will earn more money than those who have technically accomplished more before him. It’s a different game now. And on top of output on the field, Judge has the off-field star power and recognition that brings in boatloads of money that many fans conveniently disregard. It’s not all about how “good” they are — it’s how much money they’re making their employer. That’s why there are negotiations and extensive conversations.

Just because his lack of availability from 2018-2020 played a role in holding the Yankees back from their World Series aspirations doesn’t mean Judge hasn’t helped the organization print money in other ways. Plus, his production when he’s on the field is arguably top-three in baseball.

Asking if Judge can be the first $300 million player at age-30 or later might seem like a stretch on the surface, but the times have changed. His unique position with thee Yankees, coupled with his otherworldly gamble, might change that conversation forever.