Aaron Judge? Regretting his decision to turn down the New York Yankees’ seven-year, $213.5 million contract extension? Even for a second? Nah. Come on now. Guess it’s easier for us fans to have that reaction after he hit 62 home runs in 2022.
Because Judge revealed in an interview on MLB Network with Harold Reynolds that he had “a little doubt creep into his mind” about not accepting that $30.5 million AAV offer. Hey, at the time, that was certainly a “fair” deal and represented the second-highest AAV among outfielders (with Mike Trout being the one in the lead).
But Judge had a hunch he was worth more. And he was right. But for a moment there … the 2022 Yankees were looking like the 2021 Yankees.
New York started the season 7-6 and three of those losses featured shutouts. They were barely scoring. Judge had just one home run and two RBI in his first 47 at-bats. The early groans were very real and very valid because of the disappointing season the team just came off of.
Maybe Judge was feeling a bit of the heat from that, but then he hit two homers in the team’s 14th game and never looked back.
Aaron Judge had a little bit of doubt after turning down the Yankees’ offer
Sixty-two blasts and a likely AL MVP campaign later, and the Yankees are now reportedly willing to meet Judge’s (rumored) $36 million AAV request on his next contract. It’s amazing what one of the best 25 offensive seasons in MLB history can do for you.
Judge stayed true to himself. He never let the doubt fester. He never viewed his situation of heading into a contract year without any security as a “gamble.” He knew if he could stay healthy for a second straight season he would show his true value, since it was obvious the Yankees offered him a very careful extension while considering his “injury” history.
Had the Yankees offered, say, another $30-$50 million last April? Maybe they wouldn’t be on the hook for an additional $100 million at this very moment. Judge is now projected to eclipse $300 million on his next contract (ESPN has him getting Gerrit Cole’s nine-year, $324 million deal).
Now the regret is consuming Brian Cashman and Hal Steinbrenner after they were pumping their first from April 8-21.