Yankees star Aaron Judge’s bet on himself is the central focus of opening day

On Friday morning, as he prepared for his sixth Opening Day with the Yankees, Aaron Judge faced the media crowd in the locker room after two years of virtual interviews and the topic was mostly about talks about a contract extension. .

At 9:42 a.m., Judge sheepishly said “first pitch is at 1:08 p.m.” It was a subtle but veiled reference to when he would finish his deadline to negotiate a contract extension and the matter would probably be postponed until after the season.

A little over 90 minutes later, general manager Brian Cashman walked to the podium in the interview room and got right to the point with an update on the matter that was seen as the final piece of an offseason that many thought was disappointing. for the Yankees.

“It’s over and unfortunately it’s going to be in a year’s time,” Cashman said. “Obviously we had a long conversation for the last three weeks or so, but we were not successful.”

Cashman then went into detail about what was offered to the right fielder, who homered in his debut and then hit 52 homers in 2017 to break Mark McGwire’s rookie record of 49 set in 1987 with Oakland. That mark was finally broken when Pete Alonso hit 53 home runs for the New York Mets in 2019 and Judge will enter the one-year, arbitration-decided contract with 158 home runs, including 39 he hit last season while healthy.

Cashman said the Yankees offered a seven-year, $213.5 million extension, which would not include the $17 million the team offered in arbitration or the $21 million Judge requested. The deal would have started in 2023 and had an average annual value of $30.5 million.

According MLBTradeRumors.com it would have ranked 17th in baseball history in terms of average annual value. He also would have taken Judge to age 37, similar to recent free-agent deals for Corey Seager, Freddie Freeman, Marcus Semien and Francisco Lindor.

By all accounts, both parties want to continue the relationship. It is a position that both sides have publicly stated in previous comments.

Now the Yankees are in the area of ​​Judge asking for more, especially if he duplicates what he did last season or even exceeds it.

“We’re happy that he’s dressed in stripes,” Cashman said. “We expect him to lead this team this year”

As for beyond this year, it’s a mystery. Judge has frequently publicly stated his desire to be a Yankee for life similar to past icons like Derek Jeter and Mariano Rivera, but about an hour after Josh Donaldson’s single gave the Yankees an 11th-inning win, there seemed to be a theme of disappointment and frustration in his words.

“I’m just disappointed because I’ve said I want to be a Yankee for life,” Judge “I want to bring a championship back to New York. I want to do it for the fans here. This is my home. And I’m not going to do that now. It sucks, but I have a job to do in the field. I have to shift my focus to that now and play around a bit.”

The judge didn’t seem very excited either. Cashman took the tactic of announcing to a room full of people what was on offer, something that can be seen as a PR spin to get people to side with management or a way to cover up given the likelihood that the number is leaked. sometime.

Whatever Cashman’s motive for publicly disclosing the proposed terms, which are slightly higher than the 10-year, $189 million deal signed in February 2001, Judge understood the reasoning even if he didn’t seem enthusiastic.

“I don’t like to talk about numbers. I like to keep that private. Something that I felt was private between my team and the Yankees,” Judge said. “I am a ballplayer. [Cashman] has a job to do, and I can’t control that

“It didn’t take me by surprise; there is nothing to be angry about. They are business. It’s a side of the sport that I love to play. In business, anything can happen, so you have to move on.”

The next time this topic comes up will be in November, when the World Series ends with Judge helping the Yankees win it or another team celebrating. So you can expect the financial numbers to rise elsewhere and possibly the Yankees, especially if Judge is as productive as he was last year for a team that struggled to 92 wins at times.

Judge is reportedly seeking deals similar to those signed by Bryce Harper, Mookie Betts and Mike Trout betting on himself in his 30-year-old season.

Harper signed a 13-year, $330 million contract with Philadelphia when he was 26 years old. Betts signed a 12-year, $365 million deal with the Los Angeles Dodgers when he was 27 and Trout signed his 12-year, $426.5 million contract extension with Los Angeles. Angeles Angels when he was 27 years old.

It’s hard to blame Judge for trying to come up with that kind of money for his next contract, given the potential revenue streams in the sport with the various broadcast deals along with new TV deals with FOX, ESPN and TBS.

Until then, the Yankees will retain Judge at a figure possibly decided in court by an umpire while the focus turns to baseball.

“At the end of the year, I’m a free agent, I’ll talk to 30 teams and the Yankees will be one of those 30 teams. It’s always good to try to finish something as soon as possible. But we couldn’t do it and it’s about baseball.”


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