1. Multiple Teams Can (and Will) Offer More Money Than Yankees
Going back to reason No. 3, the Yankees attempted to secure Judge on the lowest-risk-possible deal that limited the length of the contract and tread carefully on the AAV, not to make the cost too prohibitive. Smart? Sure. Necessary? Not when you’re a $6-$7 billion operation.
Judge was offered seven years and $213.5 million. Did we really need that 0.5? Couldn’t round up for the guy?
Anyway, the Yankees’ payroll is an ugly, ugly sight. As of right now, they have about $200 million in guaranteed money already committed to the 2023 season. What?! How?! And if there’s a desire to stay under certain luxury tax thresholds, they will likely do one of two things: avoid a wild bidding war for Judge, or out-bid everyone else and then not properly build around him, ending their offseason there.
With the San Francisco Giants, Chicago Cubs, Seattle Mariners, Boston Red Sox, St. Louis Cardinals and others with a lot of financial flexibility, who says more than one of those teams won’t go higher than the Yankees? And if they do, what’ll that say about the Yankees’ offer, from Judge’s perspective?
Judge also can’t be oblivious to the team’s poor roster construction/decision making. He’s watched them refuse to get as good as they can possibly get because of self-imposed financial restraints. He’s watched Boone continue to give underperformers chances while not rewarding good output from backups, prospects or part-timers. He’s seen the offseason/deadline trades.
If they break the bank on him and he knows the payroll number, don’t you think he might have it in the back of his head that he’ll just be here, treading water, as the Yankees figure out a way to make sure their piggy bank is taken care of before anything else?
Nobody’s asking the Yankees to spend $300 million. They’re asking them to pay the right players, be better with an elevated/league-high budget. and potentially break barriers when mistakes are made and amends need to be made.
But they do none of that. Judge has watched it all happen. And if he wants to win, he might come to the conclusion that this might not be the place.