With every day and every rocket to the short porch, faraway bleachers, or parts unknown, Aaron Judge is making himself an additional bushel of dollars — whether it eventually comes with the Yankees or someone else.
Throughout this spectacular season-opening 60-game stretch (or, rather, 50 games or so, considering Judge actually struggled along with the team for the first few weeks), the outfielder has said all the right things, and has repeatedly mentioned being a “Yankee for life” as his ideal outcome at the end of the campaign.
In order for that to happen, though, someone’s going to have to bend. The Yankees’ initial offer, a discounted $17 million salary for 2022 and $30.5 million AAV for the next seven years, felt like a reasonable hedging of bets at the time. Now? It feels just as outlandish as Judge’s preseason request of nine years and $36 million.
Maybe the two sides will meet in the middle — or, more realistically, closer to Judge’s first ask than the midpoint. Before they can even have those discussions, though, they need to settle on a 2022 salary, and Yankee fans aren’t the only ones begging for the two sides to drop their quarrel before it poisons both the rest of the season and future discussions.
Ken Rosenthal, an objective third party, begged the Yankees ahead of Wednesday’s 4-3 win (another victory against a “bad team” in the …. playoff-bound Rays, imagine that) to stay out of the arbitration room with Judge.
You never know what you’re going to find in there, but it’s almost never good.
Yankees, Aaron Judge need to avoid arbitration
"“My advice would be to stay out of the arbitration room (for) a couple of reasons: One, the Yankees want to keep this relationship positive as they continue to sign Judge long-term. And the other (reason) is the nature of the arbitration process itself.“We’re talking about a three-person arbitration panel. Now, they’re a professional group, obviously, and they’re not supposed to consider anything that has happened this year, but you’d have to be living in a cave not to be aware of what Aaron Judge has done this year, and who knows how that might affect the arbitrators subconsciously.”"
While the arbitration process is supposed to be cold, hard facts from impartial jurors related to Judge’s 2021 season, this is an almost impossible situation for a panel of faceless legal minds to be objective. Try as you might to forget his current 60-homer chase, but such stone-faced candor is not going to come easily.
Beyond that imbalance, though, there are just the poor optics of it all. Judge should be on the verge of being named captain, not battling for every cent while trying to argue against the Yankees calling him “injury prone.”
When Dellin Betances went to arbitration, the Yankees argued he was not worth the price of admission. Needless to say, they can’t try the same trick with Judge.
It’s one thing for Yankee fans to beg the two sides to stay civil.
It’s quite another for Rosenthal, who has no skin in the game, to ask New York’s braintrust to fork over an extra few million, especially after all the revenue Judge has created through the first two months of 2022.