All eyes will be on Aaron Judge in the offseason when the New York Yankees assess the team and determine whether to make an offer for the slugger who crushed 62 home runs during the season.
Judge and the Yankees’ season did not end with a victory parade. Instead, the Yankees were swept by the Houston Astros in the American League Championship Series, and Judge was 1-for-16 with four strikeouts against them. Judge hit two home runs in the Division Series against the Cleveland Guardians.
Judge told reporters after the game that he is going to take time to address his next steps and talked to Giancarlo Stanton and Gerrit Cole about how they went about their massive contracts, according to MLB.com.
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“I haven’t even thought about the next step yet,” he said. “We’ve got time to figure it out. I’ve never been in this spot before.”
Judge reiterated just how special it was to be with the Yankees during the first few years of his career.
“Getting a chance to wear the pinstripes and play right field at Yankee Stadium, that’s an incredible honor,” he added. “I definitely didn’t take it for granted at any point. I always checked myself pregame when I’d say a little prayer, I’d kind of look around the stadium and pinch myself. There’s very few individuals who get a chance to run on that field and play in front of the fans.”
The contract situation is something that has cast a shadow over the course of the season ever since the Yankees and the outfielder failed to reach a deal by the arbitrary opening day deadline.
Yankees general manager Brian Cashman addressed the situation earlier this month.
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Cashman did his best to give Yankees fans some hope that the team will come to the negotiating table with as close to a blank check as possible. He did not elaborate on any figures, but said there was a “pot of gold” for Judge.
“There’s a pot of gold there,” he said, via MLB.com. “It’s yet to be determined how much it weighs, but it’s a pot of gold, no doubt about it. So good for him. It was already a big pot, and obviously it’ll be bigger. He’s put himself in an amazing position to have a lot of choices. Obviously, we’d like to win the day on that discussion. If you need to hear it again, I’ll say it again: of course we’d love to have Aaron Judge back as a New York Yankee.”
Cashman added: “I think that history since the ‘70s, and the advent of free agency, shows that players have changed organizations. We always compete to try and keep what we’d like to keep. In some cases we’re successful; other cases, we’re not. We always try to compete and try to take free agents from elsewhere. Sometimes we’ve had a lot of success there, other times we haven’t. It’s part of the market process. That’s all for another day.”
Cashman said back in April the team offered him an eight-year contract worth between $230.5 million and $234.5 million, the difference to have been determined in arbitration for this year’s salary.
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Judge’s reps were reportedly seeking a nine-year deal and more than Los Angeles Angels star Mike Trout makes annually. The sought-after deal would reportedly have been somewhere around $319.6 million in total. Trout makes about $35.5 million annually. He signed a 12-year, $426.5 million deal in 2019.