Los Angeles: Aaron Judge is turning down a $213 million dollar offer from the Yankees and has said that he will not discuss an extension until the season is over. In essence, he will test the free agent market in 2023. Add $17 million for this year of arbitration the Yankees offered and he turned down a guaranteed $230.5 million for 8 years. He is 30 years old and though a very good player, he has yet to go a full season without some kind of injury. His rookie year in 2017 was his high-water mark at 155 games. If you take the “Covid 2020 season out where he played in 28 games out of 60 he has only played 4 years in the big leagues. In those 4 seasons he has averaged 129 games per year.
The Yankees are offering him an average of $30.5 million a year for 7 years plus that $17 million. My question is why? Also How much does he need to make him feel comfortable? I’m pretty sure he has no problem buying groceries for his family with the $20 million he has earned in salary over the past 6 years just from his Yankee salary.
He will break down again over those 7 years including this year. But that is just part of the game going back to Babe Ruth. So all of that will never be a factor in signing a big time quality player like Judge. In today’s baseball market he is worth the big money. It is the cost of doing business in baseball today. $30 million is chump change when you think about what these billion dollar organizations bring in every year.
The Elephant in the room is, can they keep him from walking? Think about this, did any of us seriously think that Freddie Freeman would ever leave the Braves? Though his signing with the Dodgers is a bit more complicated than being about money alone. Freeman was looking for an extra year and the Braves GM Alex Anthopoulos had only a small window of opportunity to make a deal with the Oakland A’s in a trade that could possibly bring in a younger Allstar to replace Freeman. Anthopoulos could have ended up with nothing. So he made the decision to deal for Matt Olson that included Braves top prospects Cristian Pache, catcher Shea Langeliers, and pitching prospects Ryan Cusick and Joey Estes. It ended Freeman’s time in Atlanta. The only organization the ever knew.
In Judge’s case he and the Yankees could be headed down the same road if any of the other free agent out fielders have a blow-em out of the water year in 2022. But that is a stretch. Judge is by far the best in next years list of free agent outfielders. My belief is that the Freeman scenario was unique and that it would be hard to duplicate in the Yankee Judge story line.
What ever the future is for the Yankees and Aaron Judge will have to wait until this coming winter. He is the big prize out there for who ever will step to the plate and swing for the fences to get him. The talk of loyalty to a team is long gone. The owners showed they have no loyalty to players this off season in their lock-out so why should players feel loyalty to them?
These negotiations will focus on money. Not loyalty or fans. It’s a business. The entertainment business. Whether it be on the field or off the field negotiations it is entertainment. The money that is talked about is hard to understand unless you are a millionaire yourself.
Aaron Judge does have one thing that he must consider. Unlike the Atlanta Braves and Freddie Freeman he is part of the most storied sports franchises in the history of all sports. To play your whole career for the Yankees is worth more than $230 million to some. As we have seen from Babe Ruth to Derek Jeter it could become immortality. Then again, three mansions from coast to coast and a garage filled with expensive cars is nice too.
Will the Yankee offer keep him a Yankee for life? Aaron will be the Judge of that.
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