Where do the Yankees stand with Aaron Judge?
As the arbitration deadline passes, the Yankees continue to negotiate with the fifth-year outfielder before opening day
CC: Yankees Go Yard
TAMPA, F.L, (3-25-2022) - Tuesday, March 22, saw the arbitration deadline pass without the New York Yankees signing outfielder Aaron Judge to a long-term extension.
After the end of the 99-day lockout, the team set its sights on extending the three time all-star outfielder before opening day on April 7. However, as the second week of Spring Training comes to a close, both sides remained far apart on a new deal.
The team already agreed to contract terms with outfielder ($10,275,000), second baseman Gleyber Torres ($6.25 million), left-hander Jordan Montgomery ($6 million), infielder Isaih Kiner-Falefa ($4.7 million), right-handler Jameson Taillon ($5.8 milion), right-hander Chad Green ($4 million), left hander Wandy Peralta ($2.15 million), right-hander Clay Holmes ($1.1 million) and catcher Kyle Higashioka ($935,000).
The Yankees drafted Judge in 2013. After three years in the minor leagues, he made his Yankees debut near the end of the 2016 season.
In 2017, Judge played one of the best rookie seasons in Major League Baseball history. He broke the American League record for rookie home runs with 52, won AL rookie of the year and finished second in AL MVP voting. Despite Judge's breakout, the Yankees fell to the Houston Astros in the AL championship before the latter won the World Series against the Los Angeles Dodgers. Judge finished the season with 128 runs, 114 RBIs in 542 at bats and a .284 batting average.
Judge's production stayed consistent after his rookie season despite suffering multiple injuries. In 2019, Judge finished the season with 27 home runs, 55 RBIs in 378 at bats and 75 home runs. He also won the Wilson Defensive Player of the Year Award after recording a perfect fielding percentage and 177 putouts.
Judge currently sits on the end of his rookie deal after finishing 4th in American League MVP voting in 2021. The Yankees previously said they want to extend Judge to a long-term extension within next week, according to Joel Sherman of the New York Post.
However, the two sides have yet to agree as Judge raised his asking price. The Yankees offered $17 million to him. The 29-year-old instead asked for a $21 million salary as he previously made $10,175,000.
The two sides could enter arbitration, which occurs if a player and team can't agree on an extension. Judge is currently eligible since he played more than three years.
Arbitration involves a panel of independent arbitors hearing both the cases of the player and the team. Then, the arbitors rule in favor of either the player or the team. So, if talks did go to arbitration, Judge would have to settle for what the panel votes for.
However, Judge's injury history could prove a massive risk with extending him. Throughout his career, Judge suffered shoulder injuries, strains, a collapsed lung and rib issue and lower body soreness.
If the Yankees can't extend Judge by opening day, then they'll have to wait until the offseason to talk again. The team would only have until Nov. 7 before free agency and Judge could sign with any team that gives him the best deal.
Yankees general manager Brian Cashman said he feels confident his team can keep the all star outfielder in the Bronx long term.
"We’re the only team that can talk to him now and at some point those conversations will happen, and we’ll try to keep it as private as we can. But our intent and our hope would be that we’d like to have back if we can. But like anything else, just like trades and free agency stuff, you have to be on the same page. But saying we’d like to have him and actually being able to complete something is a big difference. But we’re happy he’s a Yankee and it would be great if we could make him a Yankee longer than just this year.”
In an interview with MLB writer Pete Caldera, Judge said he doesn't want contract talks to distract him during the season and wants to get a deal done as soon as possible.
“If we’re able to talk and get something done before the season starts, that’d be ideal,’’ Judge said last week. “If not, then we’ll talk after the season.’’
While the time ticks down to opening day, Judge said he hopes he can stay with the Yankees long term and help them win the World Series.
“I think as long as I’m playing baseball, I want to be wearing pinstripes,” he said. “It’s been an honor and blessing to be here. To get a chance to play in this franchise and be surrounded by so many great players and walk in the footsteps of so many other former great players that have played this game, there’s no better place to play on this planet. I’ve been vocal about that, and I want to stay here in pinstripes. If that happens, it happens. But if it comes to it that it doesn’t, I’ll enjoy my memories here … my teammates, everybody.”