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Aaron Judge, even though he doesn’t have those sacred numbers, is having an MVP season. An extension by the Yankees should be in the wind…
Aaron Judge is closing the book on all questions the Yankees may have had about whether or not they should extend him a contract extension offer.
The questions were all valid, revolving mainly around the inability of Aaron Judge to stay on the field.
When the regular season ends this year, Judge will have played more games than he has since his rookie season in 2017. He has yet to have a stint on the Injured List (IL) due to an injury.
Yet, Aaron Judge belongs in the conversation for those who believe the MVP award should be based solely on the question – where would his team be without him?
For the Yankees, the answer to that question is, or should be a no-brainer, and yet it’s not quite that simple.
Yankees: Oh, Those Freakin’ Extensions
The Yankee’s recent history with extensions has not been pleasant. Seven-year $70 million extensions to Aaron Hicks and Luis Severino (both non-contributors in 2021) raise a red flag for the team’s brass.
Still, the Yankee’s need to reckon that Aaron Judge will be playing his walk-year in 2022 before becoming a free agent the following year.
Arbitration eligible for 2022, Judge will command a substantial raise from his $10,175,000 salary this year. The Yankees will have no reason to object.
However, the question for the Yankees is to pay him now or pay him (Judge) even more later when Judge can elect to make himself available to the highest bidder for the 2023 season.
With Hicks and Severino, the Yankees shot themselves in the foot by jumping the gun because Severino (at the time) had several years before reaching free agency in 2024, and Hicks, with his ongoing history of injuries, was unlikely to command attention from other teams.
With Aaron Judge, however, the game changes dramatically.
Aaron Judge: What Does He Want?
The unknown factor, though, is Aaron Judge himself.
There’s no reason to believe he would not want to continue his career with the Yankees. Aaron Judge is not represented by a big-time agent like Scott Boras. He certainly has his head on straight and more than capable of making sound decisions about his financial future – but when other teams come calling – what will he do?
As stated in the title, Aaron Judge has answered all of the Yankees’ questions, and therefore, the next move is theirs to make.
Worries about the luxury tax threshold next year and the years beyond are valid and legitimate concerns of the Yankees when the exorbitant contract of Gerrit Cole is factored in, together with the one awarded to DJ LeMahieu.
Even with the Yankees, money does not grow on trees, and the belt will become further tightened on Yankee’s payroll unless George Steinbrenner rises from his grave.
Aaron Judge: Do It Now, Work Out The Rest Later
Rather than wait until then, it seems logical to me, at least, the Yankees would rather have Aaron Judge tucked safely away in their budget, albeit an expensive endeavor, but at least he’s there.
Aaron Judge is the face of the New York Yankees, but that in no way makes him not expendable. He is a commodity like the rest of the 600+ players who play the game at this level.
At the same time, though, Judge has set himself apart from the others this season, and that needs to be reckoned with by the Yankees – soon – and with an offer to keep him with the team for the next five or six years.
After all, ye who waits…
Here’s What Readers Are Saying…
Mark Malmut Judge is the quintessential Yankee, and a quiet leader, much in the vein of Jeter & Mattingly. All those who questioned his value to the team because of injury, are neither true Yankees fans nor knowledgeable about baseball. It’s as if the expectations were that he’d be bequeathed with 700 home runs and land in Cooperstown without having to play out his career. Historical reference; both Mickey Mantle & Ken Griffey Jr missed significant playing time due to injuries. Let’s get him signed to a long-term contract and embrace him for the great player & team leader that he is.
Richard Dely One Healthy season does not make 4 unhealthy seasons mean anything.
Nephty Cruz If Boone were to put him in a position to succeed and pat his stats, the Yankees would have a better record and Judge would have over 100 RBIs right now. Makes no sense how Devers and Abreau lead the league in RBIs with fewer home runs.
Steven Kenworthy Baseball is a game where” what have you done for me lately” is often heard. This season Judge can answer “A lot”. If he stays healthy, he has the tools to lead a team, but if he can’t, then he’s no help at all. Do they gamble that he can stay on the field? Tough decision for the Steinbrenner family to make.
Matthew Sinatra I would like to see him get a nice pay raise… but not at the expense of our future… big guys don’t stay on the field, unfortunately. We are living it right now with 2 of the biggest (non-pitchers)
Closing Published Comments And Final Thoughts
Comments have seemed to have run their course on this article.
To summarize, the feeling is one year does not erase the previous three, so the Yankees need another year from Judge, even if it means letting him explore the free-agent market in 2023.