Aaron Judge stays with Yankees: Ifs, buts, and predictions

Aaron Judge

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Aaron Judge has become a free agent. The Yankees were unable to reach a deal with the slugger during the offseason and now have to face more difficulties in signing him. The stage is set for what could be one of the best contract bids in MLB ever.

Aaron Judge is the most sought-after free agent. In 2022, he hit an American League record of 62 home runs, making him the best player in that group. The power hitter will be the most talked-about free agent of the offseason because of his skills, how well his team did in his “walk year,” and how well-known the team is for which he may have played his last game.

When the Yankees try to keep Aaron Judge from leaving the Bronx and the only team he’s known since he was drafted in 2013, the bids will be lofty, the stakes will be high, and the competition will be fierce.

The Yankees need Aaron Judge

After Derek Jeter retired in 2014, the Yankees didn’t have a star player or a recognizable face to go with their pinstripes. Gary Sanchez had a great last two months of the 2016 season and almost won the AL Rookie of the Year award. He was on the verge of reaching the first levels of that aura. His No. 99 jersey is always one of the best-sellers in Major League Baseball. In his rookie year, the Yankees saw how marketable he was and made The Judge’s Chambers, a seating area with a judicial theme, in the right-field stands. Already, they have made a lot more money off of Judge than he has.

The Yankees have said many times that they want to keep Aaron Judge on the team by signing him to a long-term contract, and there were many talks about this before the 2022 season. Brian Cashman, the general manager of the Yankees, went against what is usually done and told the public that the Yankees offered Judge a seven-year, $213.5 million contract extension at the end of spring training, but Judge turned it down.

The fact that Cashman told the media about it shows that he either didn’t realize or didn’t want to accept that it wasn’t a competitive offer. Like many other players about to become free agents, Aaron Judge didn’t want to talk during the season, and as far as we know, that was the last offer the Yankees made. If they had made a better offer, they probably would have said so in a loud voice.

But the cost could be high

The Yankees know that Aaron Judge wants too much money as their main reason for not re-signing him. The last time Judge set a price, he set one that was much higher and the team didn’t accept that. His agents wouldn’t back down from a deal worth an average of $36 million a year for about eight or nine years. This was true during the offseason and during spring training.

Cashman refused to agree, and he went on to hit 62 home runs, an American League record. He will definitely win AL MVP. Cashman has said that Judge’s price will go up, and the Yankees will try to match it. They will also try to figure out who else might make a better offer than them. They don’t want to compete with themselves. People have said that Judge, who grew up in California, could play for either the Giants, who were his favorite team as a child or the Dodgers, who have a lot of money.

Judge is the best hitter

Aaron Judge is the best in the Yankees lineup. He might be the best baseball player when everything is going right for him and it is difficult for the Yankees to replace him. They had a homegrown star last time in 2013. But Robinson Cano took off after the Yankees gave him a bad deal, and the Mariners gave him a lot of money.

The Yankees went on a spending spree and paid a total of $438 million to get Masahiro Tanaka, Jacoby Ellsbury, Carlos Beltran, and Brian McCann. None of them helped the Yankees win a championship. Would the Yankees try to forget about losing Aaron Judge by spending a lot of money?

But playoff record ditches

Aaron Judge will go into free agency with the stain of not doing well in the playoffs. Before Sunday night, he had only hit .216 in 43 playoff games during his career. He hit 13 home runs, which is not something to belittle. But his .786 OPS was much lower than his career average of .977 in regular season games. With the exception of Don Mattingly, Yankees legends are made in the playoffs. Judge has never dominated in the playoffs.

His age is a factor

When his next contract starts next season, Aaron Judge will be 31 years old. In the past, athletic performance starts to drop around this age. Bryce Harper’s 13-year, $330 million deal with the Phillies began when he was 26 years old. Manny Machado’s 10-year, $300-million deal started when he was also 26 years old. Mike Trout’s 12-year, $426-million deal didn’t start until he was 29. Before adding Gerrit Cole, the Yankees tried to stay away from contracts that were too long. Would they try to get Aaron Judge to sign a short-term deal with an average annual salary like Max Scherzer? Last offseason, the Mets gave Scherzer $43.33 million a year for three years. This was an MLB record.

Yankees have to break the bank and record

Currently, Aaron Judge’s MLB salary amounts to $39.5 million a year. Judge is going to sign a deal that will pay him more than $350 million and last until he is about 38 years old. Even though the market is always changing, I think that’s about what he’ll be worth this winter. Judge and the Yankees could also agree to a six-year deal worth $270 million, or $45 million per season, for a total of $270 million.

When it comes to Aaron Judge, tear up the old plans. Do you say that around age 31, players start to lose their skills? Well, before Judge, no one had ever seen a 6-foot-7, 280-pound right fielder become one of the best all-around players in the game. He’s a great athlete who stays in great shape all year long. The short right field at Yankee Stadium should help keep his body in good shape.

The most likely thing to happen is that he will go back to the Yankees. Lately, they haven’t been spending as much as their almost limitless income allows, but losing Judge would be a big blow to an organization that already seems tired.

What do you think about Aaron Judge’s next contract? Should the Yankees retain him?

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