ESPN Insider Buster Olney adds up the numbers to give his verdict on New York Yankees 3-time All-Star’s costly gamble


The New York Yankees have been answering a lot of questions about superstar outfielder Aaron Judge. The three-time American League All-Star has been the talk of the town. Whether it be his questionable vaccination status or his offseason contract negotiations with the Yankees, Judge has had a hot spotlight on him all year.

Judge had an Opening Day deadline to sign an extension with the Yankees. But General Manager Brian Cashman has since revealed that Judge had turned down $ 213.5 million from the club that would have spanned seven years.

Official from Yankees GM Brian Cashman: No long-term deal for Aaron Judge. Said Yankees offered a seven-year, $ 213.5 million extension, which, paired with the $ 17 million they’ve offered in arbitration this season, would have made the entire package just over $ 230 million.

Aaron Judge turned down the opportunity to become the highest paid New York Yankees player ever

Baseball can be very fickle. It is one of the only American sports that fully guarantees its contracts. But it is also incredibly volatile. Turning down a salary in excess of $ 30 million guaranteed every year until 2030 is incredibly enticing. However, Judge is hoping to hit a payday as hard as he hits baseballs.

The outfielder’s risk is compounded even further when looking at the risk taken by other players. Consider fellow New York outfielder Michael Conforto. Heading into the 2021 season last year, Conforto was offered a contract in excess of $ 100 million from the New York Mets. He turned down the extension and he faltered in the 2021 campaign. Fraught with injuries, Conforto hit just .232, slugging .384 with an OBP of .729. He injured his shoulder during the offseason and will likely spend 2022 rehabbing from surgery without a team or a paycheck.

Seattle Mariners v New York Yankees
Seattle Mariners v New York Yankees

Judge, however, is a different breed of ballplayer. The 2017 American League Rookie of the Year is on pace to have the best season of his career. He has been mashing baseballs at a mythical pace. Through 89 at-bats, he has already launched nine home runs (tied for the league lead with his teammate Anthony Rizzo). He is slugging .674 and has a batting average over .300. If Judge keeps this up, MLB may have a reigning MVP enter free agency for the first time since Alex Rodriguez opted out in 2007 with the Yankees.

Aaron Judge so far this season: .303 / .361 / .674OPS 1.035Adjusted OPS + 201At his current pace, he would finish this season with: 61 homers115 runs128 RBIHe went all-in betting on himself, after turning down $ 213.5m, and right now, that bet looks pretty damn good.

“At his current pace, he would finish this season with: 61 homers, 115 runs, 128 RBI … He went all-in betting on himself, after turning down $ 213.5m, and right now, that bet looks pretty damn good. ” Buster Olney, ESPN

If Aaron Judge continues his torrid pace, the New York Yankees may find themselves wishing they had offered him $ 300 million.


Edited by Jason Birkelbach





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