The Yankees’ star right fielder, Aaron Judge, could not reach a long-term contract prior to his Opening Days deadline. Judge stated that he will stick to the deadline as it’s the best thing to do for both the Yankees and him. The team offered a seven-year deal worth $213.5 million and would have made him the highest-paid position player.
Brian Cashman said the Yankees offered Aaron Judge a seven-year, $213.5 million extension that would start in 2023. It was declined. He said the sides would try again after the season. Judge and the Yankees are going to an arbitration for this season. Either $17M or $21M.
— Pete Abraham (@PeteAbe) April 8, 2022
General Manager Brian Cashman expressed his regret for this failure. “We’re all disappointed right now that we can’t be talking about a contract extension today. Not now, but hopefully later. Both sides would like to be here. I think Aaron Judge doesn’t want to be anywhere but here, and we’d love to make that happen as well,” Cashman said.
As he was the best and most marketable player for the Yankees, a dedicated section in Yankee Stadium was made and is known as “Judge’s Chambers”. Some marketing campaigns around Judge were also done during the last few seasons.
The one-year Arbitrary Contract
Both parties are now left with a one-year setting contract through salary arbitration. The Yankees offered a $21 million salary, but Judge asked for $17 million. It is still unclear what the exact number of his salary for this season will be.
“I’m just disappointed because I’ve been vocal about the fact that I want to be a Yankee for life. I want to bring a championship back to New York. I’m going to do it for the fans here. They’re family, this is home for me and not getting that done right now stinks, but I got a job to do on the field and I got to just shift my focus on that now,” Judge responded to this matter.
Despite the fact that they could not reach a long-term agreement, Cashman said that they wished to maintain the good relationship even in the future.
“I never imagined in my life that I’d be in that situation, and it’s something that’s guaranteed. “So just the thought of even going down this route with the Yankees is something special. I know I was guaranteed this last year. It’s an arbitration year, and that’s what I’m going to focus on. I’ve got one year to play. “The contract extension stuff is nice, but I’ve got bigger things to focus on,” Judge stated.
Judge also said that he is fine with going to free agency and will only focus on what he needs to do on the field. He is going to talk to 30 teams, including the Yankees, by the end of this year.
According to Baseball Savant, in 2021, Judge was a league leader and an elite player, with an average exit velocity of 95.8 miles per hour and a hard-hit percentage of 58.8%. The right fielder had started 148 games and had a.287/.373/.544 slash line with a.916 OPS, 39 home runs, and 93 RBI.
Over the last few years, the Yankees have passed on top free agents such as Bryce Harper, Manny Machado, Carlos Correa, and Freddie Freeman. The team also signed Cole Stanton, Aaron Hicks, and DJ LeMahieu through at least 2025, and is expected to have some roster turnover in the future.