The seven-year, $213.5 million offer Judge received from New York in April will most likely not be the only one he receives.
Aaron Judge’s contract year is one of the best in sports. The star of the New York Yankees and front-runner for the American League MVP is putting the final touches on a historic season in which he is vying for the Triple Crown and Roger Maris’ single-season home run record in the American League, and he is doing it just before free agency. Judge, who blasted home run number 60 on Tuesday night, has positioned himself for an enormous, enormous payout.
“Very few individuals have the chance to speak extension. I’m grateful that the Yankees want to give me this chance because it’s special “When a seven-year, $213.5 million agreement was rejected in spring training, Judge remarked. “But I don’t mind becoming a free agent. I’ll speak with 30 teams at the conclusion of this year. These clubs will include the Yankees.”
GM Brian Cashman made the uncommon decision to announce the parameters of the offer during a news conference, so we know the Yankees offered seven years and $213.5 million. According to the New York Post, Judge wanted 9–10 years at $36 million a year and didn’t seem to like it, saying, “That’s something I felt like was private between my club and the Yankees.”
Nearly six months after the Yankees made a fair offer to Judge during spring training, the once-impossible task of increasing his own earnings has been accomplished. Although Judge has increased his perceived ceiling this year, teams are paid based on future performance, not previous success. He can no longer produce “simply” MVP-caliber seasons. He has the potential to make history.
“The all-time Yankee, in our opinion, is Aaron Judge. We believe he is a superb player who goes above and beyond. We believe he is a wonderful person. Because of this, we gave him the largest position player deal in Yankees history “Earlier this month, Yankees president Randy Levine remarked. “I applaud him for taking on this responsibility, and we’ll meet down with him to try to work things out. Without a doubt, we cherish him and want him back, in my opinion.”
How has Judge’s season affected his ability to generate money? Okay, a lot. That much is clear. After the season Judge is having, let’s try to predict what Judge’s next deal would include.
In light of the extension request
The seven years and $213.5 million paid to the Yankees did not appear overnight. The agreement would have started in 2023 and the average yearly worth of $30.5 million would have made the outfielder the second-richest player ever, only below Mike Trout and above Mookie Betts. The highest-paying outfield contracts ever are listed below:
|TOTAL GUARANTEE||AVERAGE ANNUAL VALUE|
|1. Mike Trout, Angels: $426.5 million||1. Mike Trout, Angels: $35.54 million|
|2. Mookie Betts, Dodgers: $365 million||2. Mookie Betts, Dodgers: $30.42 million|
|3. Bryce Harper, Phillies: $330 million||3. Yoenis Cespedes, Mets: $27.5 million|
|4. Giancarlo Stanton, Marlins: $325 million||4. Kris Bryant, Rockies: $26 million|
|5. Christian Yelich, Brewers: $215 million||5. Bryce Harper, Phillies: $25.38 million|
The New York Post reported that the Yankees were prepared to pay Judge the $21 million salary he requested in 2022 as part of the extension, even though the two parties ultimately agreed on a $19 million salary, the midpoint of their $21 million and $17 million filing figures. This year, the Yankees and Judge came very close to having an arbitration hearing. Eight years and $234.5 million made up the entire agreement.
Judge would have received the fifth-largest guarantee ever given to an outfielder from the Yankees, making him the second-highest compensated outfielder in terms of yearly pay. Despite this, neither the yearly value nor the overall guarantee would have been the wealthiest in franchise history. These belong to Gerrit Cole, who earns $324 million overall and $36 million yearly. In terms of yearly compensation ($27.5 million), Judge would have outperformed Alex Rodriguez’s 2008–17 contract, but not in terms of total guarantee ($275 million).
Therefore, the Yankees did make Judge one of the highest-paid outfielders in baseball, but they refrained from making him the highest-paid Yankee, either in terms of yearly salary or overall monetary amount. Even if he had been a homegrown superstar, he would have continued to look up at Cole.
Judge’s age and injury history are the two factors that limit his ability to generate money. In all probability, Judge’s next deal will purchase decline years in bulk because he will be 31 shortly after Opening Day 2023. Long-term contracts typically proceed in this manner. Teams are willing to sacrifice terrible years later on for outstanding years up front since Judge is the best hitter in the league right now.
Regarding worries about durability, Judge was only able to play in 242 of the 384 regular season games that were available from 2018 to 20; this is a 63 percent loss. But Judge has been in excellent health for the past two years, with the exception of a 10-day COVID list stint in August of last year, so any injury concerns are mostly in the past. A prominent player who posts frequently has the most latest information.
The Yankees are the ones who know Judge and his medical history the best. They considered his age and injury history, but felt comfortable signing him through the season at age 37. And the player’s age is the factor to pay attention to while assessing the length of the deal. The length of various famous athletes’ long-term contracts is as follows:
- Through age 39: Mookie Betts
- Through age 38: Bryce Harper, Mike Trout
- Through age 37: Gerrit Cole, Francisco Lindor, Corey Seager, Giancarlo Stanton
- Through age 36: Nolan Arenado
- Through age 35: Manny Machado, Fernando Tatis Jr.
The new deal Julio Rodriguez signed might keep him with the Mariners until he is 38 years old. Juan Soto turned down an extension that would have imprisoned him until he was 38 years old. It appears that 38 is the key number. The very great players in the sport (Betts, Trout, etc.) are either signed through at that age or are anticipated to be signed through at that age. They are the best of the best.
When it comes down to it, the Yankees would probably get off easy if they only had to add one more year to his seven-year deal to include his age-31 through age-37 seasons. Judge has all the clout he needs to ask for a contract that keeps him playing into age 39, just like Betts, given the season he’s having.
Similar elite players either became free agents or extremely close to being free agents and signed contracts through their age 38–39 season. Despite the fact that Judge will play the majority of 2023 at the age of 31, this provides him and his representatives with enough cause to ask for at least an eight-year contract this winter that would keep him active until age 38, if not a ninth year through age 39.
Average annual value
By significantly lifting the average yearly value bar this past summer, Mets owner Steve Cohen and Max Scherzer gave Judge (and all players, really) a tremendous service. According to average yearly income, these are the biggest contracts in baseball:
- Max Scherzer, Mets: $43.33 million
- Gerrit Cole, Yankees: $36 million
- Mike Trout, Angels: $35.54 million
- Carlos Correa, Twins: $35.1 million
- Stephen Strasburg, Nationals: $35 million
- Anthony Rendon, Angels: $35 million
Instantaneously, the annual wage for elite athletes increased from $35 million to $40 million or more. Scherzer’s three-year contract included a record-breaking yearly salary of $43.33 million, but someday someone will sign a long-term deal worth $40 million. Why Judge instead? He’s a strong contender just like everyone else, especially if he wins the Triple Crown and/or breaks the AL single-season home run record.
At this point, it’s difficult to picture Judge accepting a contract for less than Cole’s $36 million annually. Judge’s request for that amount would not be unrealistic because it has been established that elite players can earn $40 million or more annually. Although it might not occur, his camp mentioning that sum during contract negotiations would not be absurd. The going rate for top league players is currently that.
Judge’s pay scale is no longer based on the pay of the other outfielders. No matter what position he plays, he has earned the right to a pay that is comparable to what other elite athletes in the sport receive. Accordingly, Scherzer, Cole, Correa, and Rendon are all considered milestones. Judge may mention Correa and Rendon and declare that I get a higher salary since I am superior to them.
Outsiders may find it hard to measure, but it exists and has a reciprocal effect. Beyond his achievements on the field, Judge is valuable to the Yankees. He sells stuff, boosts television ratings, and puts butts in seats. By the time this season is over, the Yankees will have paid Judge nearly $35 million in compensation, and he will have brought in many more dollars for the team.
Additionally, Judge benefits from being a Yankee. Judge has the most endorsement deals of any player in 2021, and that equates to a variety of additional advantages that come with being a prominent athlete in New York. Benefits that just don’t exist anyplace are available in the New York market. Respectfully, a star Yankee is more well-known than a star of anything else in baseball.
The Yankees included Judge’s star power into the extension offer they made, and they’ll do it again after the season. Judge will think about it while taking calls. Due to the abundance of options off the field, it may make more financial sense to accept, say, a $1 million annual pay cut to stay with the Yankees rather than play for another team. A crucial factor is marquee value.
For outsiders, it is hard to measure, but it does exist and it is reciprocal. Beyond his on-field achievements, Judge is valuable to the Yankees. He sells stuff, boosts television ratings, puts butts in seats—he does it everything. By the time this season is over, the Yankees will have given Judge a salary of nearly $35 million, and he will have earned the team many more millions of dollars in income.
Being a Yankee benefits Judge at the same time. The advantages of being a famous athlete in New York include sponsorship possibilities (Judge had the most endorsement deals of any player in 2021) and a variety of other perks. Benefits that just do not exist elsewhere are offered by the New York market. In baseball, a star Yankee is more well-known than a star of any other team, with all due respect.
When making their extended offer and again after the season, the Yankees factored in Judge’s star power, and when he takes calls, Judge will think about it. Just because the off-field prospects are so fantastic, it may make financial sense to accept, say, $1 million less per year to stay with the Yankees rather than join another team. Significant factors include marquee value.
The unexpected nature of free agency itself serves as the X-factor. Contract forecasts and projections are something you can study all day long. The best offer is usually accepted by players in the end. When you average out all the estimates, they don’t sign the contract you give them. They choose the unusual, greater bargain than the others.
One desperate general manager or owner is all it takes to obtain that ludicrous contract offer. Robinson Canó is the finest modern illustration of this. In 2013, the Mariners gave Canó a 10-year deal for $240 million in an effort to get them back into the playoffs. The next-best offer was made by the Yankees. $175 million was spent over seven years. The unusual contract prevailed in the competition.
Who’s to say the prospective buyer of the Angels won’t want to make a huge impression? The Nationals are also up for sale. Spending a lot of money on Judge so soon after moving Soto (and considering the team’s situation) may seem foolish, but who knows? It’s possible that the following owner will try to make headlines as the Padres did in 2015 under new ownership.
We can presume with confidence that Judge wants the biggest contract he can get and won’t accept a Correa-style short-term deal that puts the problem off for another year. It’s difficult to envision Judge improving his free agent status the following year. Come in with a crazy offer and you can get him because this is probably his greatest opportunity to get a huge payoff.
The likelihood that Judge will sign with the Yankees decreases after he reaches the open market and formally becomes a free agent. Any club may then enter the race at that moment and, at the very least, compel the Yankees to raise their offer. Judge also seems game for the game. He recently didn’t rule out joining the Red Sox, and once free agency starts, I have no doubt that he will be mentioned in relation to the Mets. Once Judge is a free agent, all bets are off. Judge can unquestionably depart the Yankees if Freddie Freeman is free to do so from the Braves.
What will it take, then?
The Yankees made an offer of seven years at $30.5 million year from 2023 to 29. Now it looks that merely to get your foot in the door to talk about a deal, it may need eight years and $37 million every season from 2023 through 2030 ($296 million total). With a $37 million yearly compensation, Judge surpasses Cole as the second-highest paid athlete in history and will play until his age-38 season, the same age as Harper and Trout.
While it’s always possible to get a deal because you’re from home, Judge rejecting up $213.5 million in spring training is pretty good proof that he wants to maximize his earnings and is ready to place a risk on himself. Why wouldn’t Judge explore the market and see what’s available when free agency is so close at hand now? Even if the goal is to eventually stay in New York, there is no compelling reason not to look about.
In spring training, Cashman stated that the player’s interest was that he didn’t want to be anyplace else. He is aware that there are no assurances, but, at the same time.
Judge has advantages as a Yankee, without a doubt, but the Yankees depend more on Judge than Judge does on the team. He is both their most popular player off the field and their greatest player on it by a wide margin. The entire bundle is unique. No other player who brings the club such good value will be available this winter (as a free agent, at least).
The Yankees usually manage to obtain the guy they really want. When the Angels and Dodgers each made seven-year offers to Cole three years prior, they increased their offer to eight years. The Yankees extended their contract to nine years after the Angels and Dodgers proposed an eight-year term. If it took 10, I have a feeling they would have done whatever it needed to get Cole. Point being, the Yankees will go to any lengths to acquire a player if they have their hearts set on him, and all signs point to them wanting to keep Judge.
The Cubs, Mets, and Red Sox are big-market teams who are likely to at least keep tabs on Judge, giving him the power to force the Yankees into a ninth season. I don’t believe he will earn $40 million year unless he takes an unanticipated action, like signing a lucrative short-term contract, but free agency is unpredictable. This bidding war may cost $342 million overall, or $38 million each year, for nine years. To increase his free agent stock, Judge has made that much progress.