The New York Yankees have finally sealed the deal with Aaron Judge.
According to Ken Rosenthal from The Athletic, the Yankees are making certain that Judge retires with the only organization he has ever known. He is set to receive a nine year deal worth $360 million, locking him in place into the next decade.
New York Yankees finally lock Aaron Judge in place
This signing was not a guarantee. Reports had been rampant that Judge was set to sign with the Giants, with Jon Heyman, amongst others, reporting his signing as a done deal before backtracking minutes later. The Yankees front office must have been filled with anxiety over the past few hours and days.
Ultimately, the Yankees were able to prevail in the end. Judge becomes the first position player, and third player overall, to reach the $40 million mark in terms of average annual value in the majors. This contract also justifies Judge’s refusal to sign the Yankees’ offer at the end of spring training, a seven year deal worth $213.5 million that has proven to be a massive underpay.
Judge had what may have been the greatest performance ever for a player heading into free agency. He produced a .311/.425/.686 batting line in his 696 plate appearances, launching an American League record 62 homers. The 2022 AL MVP led the majors in homers, runs scored, RBI, on base percentage, slugging, OPS, and total bases, making him the hottest commodity in free agency.
This is a deal that the Yankees had to get done. There were stretches of the season last year where Judge was their offense as he almost single handedly kept the Yankees from collapsing entirely in the second half. Between what he means to the lineup and the organization from a marketing and merchandise standpoint, there may have been riots had he signed elsewhere.
The New York Yankees finally have their biggest star locked into place. Aaron Judge is reportedly staying put on a nine year deal worth $360 million.