After a career year in 2021, Aaron Judge is poised to become one of the highest-paid in the Majors.
It’s surprising Yankees’ general manager Brian Cashman has not already handed the MLBbro a blank check by now. The slugger is entering the final year of his rookie deal and has already made it clear he has no plans to continue contract negotiations after his Opening Day deadline. While nobody expects the Yankees to let such a talent leave the Bronx, because he doesn’t have a deal, questions about him possibly playing his final Opening Day game at Yankee Stadium have to be asked.
“Yeah, you think about it,’’ Judge said of the possibility that he could be playing in his final Yankees’ opener. “But ultimately, it comes down to (the fact that) I’ve got games to win. It’s been a while since Yankee fans have held the championship in this city…So, I’ve got a job to do for them, to go out and win.’’
Judge has been the most valuable player for the Yankees since he was called up to the Majors in 2017. He was unanimously selected as the 2017 American League Rookie of the Year and led the Yankees to Game 7 of the ALCS in the same season.
Judge answered many critics in 2021, his best season since his rookie year. He silenced questions about whether or not he can stay healthy for an entire season – or if he could be more than just a power threat at the plate. A ,287 batting average and 39 homers answered those questions.
— MLBbro.com (@MLBbrodotcom) September 29, 2021
Judge led the Yankees in almost every offensive category last season: games played, hits, doubles, home runs, on-base percentage, slugging percentage, OPS and WAR – all while being one of the most underrated defensive players in the sport.
Judge, 29, should soon ink a deal that will make him one of the highest-paid outfielders in baseball. That’s if the new way of doing Yankees business doesn’t try to be cute with Judge’s cheddar.
If a deal isn’t reached, the Yankees and Judge will face arbitration this off-season. Judge and his Yankees open the season against the team that sent them on winter vacation last season – the Boston Red Sox.
So, the franchise should definitely want their best player to be focused on hitting the baseball and not worried about contract negotiations or even getting hurt before he can secure the bag.
Judge says he’s not that concerned, and everything will happen in due time.
“We’ll get there when we get there,’’ Judge told reporters on Tuesday. According to Joel Sherman of the New York Post, the Yankees offered their slugger $17 million. However, Judge declined it, as he was seeking $21 million.
Judge Needs A Huge Pay Boost
According to the Indy Star, the highest paid outfielder in 2022 is the Los Angeles Angels’ Mike Trout, who will make more than $37 million. George Springer of the Houston Astros is second, at almost $30 million. Trout’s teammate, Justin Upton, is third on the list at $28 million. The Philadelphia Phillies’ Bryce Harper ($27.5 million) and the Milwaukee Brewers’ Christian Yelich ($26 million) round out the five highest paid outfielders for 2022.
20 outfielders will make $15 million or more this season. 10 will make $20 million or more. You can’t tell me there’s 10 outfielders in baseball better than Aaron Judge. There aren’t 10 better players. A $17M annual salary would be well below Judge’s market value, especially when you take into account that he’s the best player on the most storied franchise in baseball, jersey sales and all of the revenue the bug guy generates for the Yankees.
There are three MLBbros in the top 10 for highest-paid outfielders: Jason Heyward, former MVP Mookie Betts, and 32-year-old George Springer, whose six-year, $150-million deal with the Blue Jays last off-season made him the second highest-paid outfielder in all of baseball.
Judge will get his money eventually, but the Yankees sure are taking a long time to do right by their franchise player.