SAN DIEGO ( Associated Press) – The judge has issued his ruling: It will continue to sit in the Bronx.
Aaron Judge will remain with the New York Yankees after agreeing to a nine-year, $360 million deal that would be the largest ever for a free agent, according to a person familiar with the deal.
The source spoke to The Associated Press on Wednesday on condition of anonymity because the AL MVP deal has not been officially announced.
Judge, who set an American League record with 62 home runs last season, will earn $40 million per season, the highest annual average for a non-pitcher in history.
On the list of the largest in history, it is only below the contracts signed by Mike Trout with the Los Angeles Angels for $426.5 million, and by Mookie Betts with the Los Angeles Dodgers for $365 million.
Trout and Bates had existing contracts when they reached those juicy deals.
Before last season, New York offered Judge a long-term deal totaling $213.5 million over seven years, 2023–29. But he turned it down until the opening hours of the season in April.
Slugger bet on himself and won.
Judge surpassed Roger Maris’ home run mark in the NL and led New York to the AL East title. He also shared the Major League lead with 131 RBIs, but he missed out on the Triple Crown with a .311 average.
New York lost the American League Championship Series by sweeping Houston. However, Judge became the first Yankee MVP since Alex Rodriguez in 2007.
By rejecting the Yankees’ preseason offer, Judge earned $146.5 million and two more guaranteed seasons. Judge, originally from Northern California, also visited the San Francisco Giants last month.
There were certainly other clubs probing the market with intent on acquiring the slugger, who turns 31 in April.
The judge’s decision will have an impact on several teams and free agents. Given the size of his contract, his position may have put a damper on some of the Yankees’ offseason plans.
However, general manager Brian Cashman clarified that his team would wait patiently while the judge considered his options.
In the end the strategy worked.
“We’ll wait for this process to be resolved,” Cashman said Monday at the winter major league meetings in San Diego. “And that means being active in conversation and conversation.”