Wednesday, May 25, 2022

Aaron Judge contract: Yankees GM Brian Cashman says extension offer will be made before Opening Day

On Saturday, New York Yankees general manager Brian Cashman confirmed the team will make a contract extension offer to star outfielder Aaron Judge prior to Opening Day, according to MLB.com’s Bryan Hoch. Cashman declined to say whether the offer has been made yet, though it was previously reported the team would make Judge a “presentation” next week.

“Between now and Opening Day, we’ve said we’ll make an offer — and he’ll obviously receive an offer — and all the conversations will be had, will have taken place, and will either resolve into a multi-year deal or it won’t,” Cashman told reporters, including SI.com’s Max Goodman.

Soon after reporting to spring training Judge said he hopes to remain a Yankee the rest of his career. He also indicated he will not discuss a contract after Opening Day. Judge is scheduled to become a free agent after the season, so if there’s no deal in place on Opening Day, he will hit the open market. Here’s what Judge told Dan Martin of the New York Post recently:

“If we’re able to talk and get something done in spring training before the season starts, that would be ideal, especially since this is an important year,” Judge said in his first comments of the spring. “We’ve got a lot of things to focus on during the course of the year, winning a division and winning a championship here in New York. I don’t want contract talks or extensions and all that talk to be a distraction throughout the year. So, if we’re able to agree to something here in the spring before we head up to New York, that’s wonderful and it would be an honor. If not, we’ll talk after the season.”

Judge turns 30 shortly after Opening Day and Kris Bryant recently signed a seven-year, $182 million contract with the Rockies. He turned 30 in January. Prior to the lockout, the 31-year-old Marcus Semien signed a seven-year, $175 million contract with the Rangers. Those two contracts suggest Judge can get seven years and $200 million or so, and maybe even push for an eighth year.

The Yankees and Judge were unable to agree to a 2022 contract prior to the arbitration salary filing deadline earlier this week. He filed for a $21 million salary while the team filed $17 million. They can still agree to a contract of any size at any time, but if they go to an arbitration hearing, the three-person panel will pick Judge’s number or the team’s number. Nothing in-between.

Last season Judge played 148 games, the most since his rookie season in 2017. Injuries limited him to 242 of 384 possible regular season games from 2018-20, or 63 percent. In those 148 games last year Judge hit .287/.373/.544 with 39 home runs, earning him a fourth place finish in the MVP voting.  

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