Aaron Judge, New York Yankees
Flowing from a month-long multi-team courtship, the Yankees preserved their connection to Judge by giving him a nine-year, $360 million deal that paid him exactly $40 million this season … plus a captaincy. Even in New York, $40 million is real money.
What they got in return was not enough to justify the only currency that matters in the Bronx — a World Series win or even a measly postseason berth. The Yanks finished fourth in the AL East and several games out of playoff contention.
When available, Judge performed well. But injuries cost him nearly 60 games, greatly hampering his ability to produce anything tantamount in value to his salary. He did hit 37 home runs and drove in 75 runs, both good for the number of plate appearances he got.
But his .267 average was off 44 percentage points from 2022 and his 1.019 OPS really testified to what might have been had he contributed for a full season.
Give Judge his credit. In the time allotted to him, he generated 4.5 WAR, a total exceeded by only two of the 15 players on this list. His 3.1 Win Probability Added was also third best among the 15.
It’s hard to be valuable when you miss more than one-third of the season. Penalizing a player because he got hurt may seem unfair, but until Judge gives 33 percent of that $40 million back it’s real world. Transactional grade: B+