If the New York Yankees are going to bring Aaron Judge back at the end of 2022, it’s going to cost them significantly more money than they theorized it would prior to the season. At the time, a $230.5 million package felt like a hometown discount, but a fair one, and Judge’s rumored $360 million felt like a counterpoint from outer space.
Now? Meeting in the middle wouldn’t be such a bad idea for the Yankees, who probably have to approach Judge’s desired $36 million annually if they want to keep him away from the Giants, Dodgers and Cubs. And Mets. And Red Sox? Who knows? Hard to keep up.
You know who knows a little something about mega-deals for 30-year-old players from the not-so-distant past? Alex Rodriguez, who, like most people related to the Yankees, would like to see Judge in place long-term. The weekend against Houston — and the season in general — doesn’t follow quite the same path without him.
So, what’ll it take? Something rivaling Rodriguez’s 10-year, $275 million deal signed after an MVP-winning 2007 season at the age of 32? Even back then, the Yankees were still prioritizing cash saved annually over avoiding long-term commitments, DJ LeMahieu-style.
On his Sunday Night Baseball Kay-Rod Cast alongside Michael Kay, A-Rod theorized two different packages he’d float to keep Judge in New York long-term.
Both blow the previous AAV discussion out of the proverbial water.
Aaron Judge Yankees extension predictions from A-Rod
And, if it’s up to A-Rod, Judge will announce the details of his mega-extension in the middle of someone else’s playoff series.
Rodriguez comparing Judge’s contract situation to Freddie Freeman leaving the Braves despite both sides reportedly wanting a reunion made things a bit uncomfortable. After all, Atlanta really did seem to stay silent all winter (both when mandated by a lockout and when the doors were opened back up), divorcing emotion from the proceedings. If the Yankees slice emotion out of the discussion, Judge might quickly look elsewhere.
Rodriguez wants to see Judge paid commensurate with his worth, and in line with what the Yankees’ money-making machine produces annually. That said … there is no way the Yankees will swallow the tax bracket change and pay Judge $43.4 million annually for eight years or $50 million annually for five years.
Someone with more wiggle room might go 5/$250 million, especially because it doesn’t take Judge into his dreaded late-30s. The Yankees won’t, though.
If Rodriguez’s goal is to get Judge paid on shorter-term, beefed-up deals, then mission accomplished. If his goal is to get the Yankees to agree to said deals, he’ll need to consider Hal Steinbrenner’s spending patterns of the past and the robotic way in which these discussions typically go, leaving the players side offended, put off, and occasionally locked down long-term anyway.