Yankees may not see Aaron Judge as career-long player, ex-MLB agent suggests

New York Yankees at Yankee Stadium: Aaron Judge #99 of the New York Yankees is greeted by his teammates in the dugout after he scores on his two-run homer driving home Juan Soto #22 of the New York Yankees during the third inning. New York Yankees at Yankee Stadium: Aaron Judge #99 of the New York Yankees is greeted by his teammates in the dugout after he scores on his two-run homer driving home Juan Soto #22 of the New York Yankees during the third inning.
Charles Wenzelberg/New York Post

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New York Yankees fans have always imagined Aaron Judge as a mainstay for a long time but the club’s hierarchy might have seen things differently. This is according to former MLB agent Jeff Berry, who notably represents the likes of Trea Turner, Buster Posey and Josh Hader.

Berry revealed that the Yankees’ decision to re-sign Aaron Judge to a lucrative nine year, $360 million contract in December 2022, was strongly influenced by Yankees owner Hal Steinbrenner.

Strategic considerations

SAN DIEGO, CALIFORNIA - MAY 26: Aaron Judge #99 of the New York Yankees looks on during the first inning against the San Diego Padres at Petco Park on May 26, 2024 in San Diego, California
Orlando Ramirez

In an eye-catching conversation with ESPN’s Buster Olney on the “Baseball Tonight” podcast, Berry revealed that the Yankees’ management had second thoughts about signing Judge on a long-term contract.

“The Yankees’ front office didn’t necessarily want to sign Judge long-term, but the business decision was more the ownership stepped in,” Berry said.

Berry, who left CAA earlier in the season, also expressed his frustration at the current state of baseball, adding that he wants to provide a different perspective to the current standards and practices in the industry. The matter of arbitration rulings and key decisions surrounding player contracts are things Berry believes need to change.

A key part of Berry’s argument was the idea behind surplus value: the general belief that signing players to extended contracts before they reach free agency cannot be efficient.

Berry further used Aaron Judge as an example to buttress his point, mentioning the player’s significant contributions during his initial seven seasons with the Yankees, which included an MVP award and four All-Star appearances.

Despite Aaron Judge’s brilliant performance, the team decided to deal with the player on a year-to-year basis in a strategy that kept his salary relatively modest compared to his performances on the field.

“He is an iconic player,” Berry added.

“The height of efficiency, for me, isn’t about committing exorbitant sums to unproven prospects or letting star players walk over financial disputes. It’s about recognizing the value of players like Aaron Judge, who delivered exceptional performance at a reasonable cost, and then making informed decisions about their future with the team.”

Berry was also quick to credit the late Peter Seidler, former owner of the San Diego Padres, for playing a key role in Judge’s contract negotiations by reportedly making an offer of at least 10 years and $400 million to snatch him away from New York Yankees.

Since putting pen to paper on the lucrative deal, Aaron Judge has continued to shine on the field. He boasts an impressive .284/.416/.656 slash line with 64 home runs and 142 RBIs across 181 games and 789 plate appearances.

Should Aaron Judge play a key role in bringing the Yankees their 28th World Series championship, his contract will surely be labeled as a bargain investment for the franchise.

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