- Aaron Judge will return to the Yankees on a nine-year, $360 million deal.
- Judge turned down an extension from the Yankees last offseason that was worth $213.5 million.
- After betting on himself, he broke the AL home run record and increased his new deal by nearly $150 million.
Aaron Judge’s bet on himself paid off in a big way on Wednesday when the Yankees’ slugger agreed to a nine-year, $360 million deal that will keep him in pinstripes for the foreseeable future.
—Buster Olney (@Buster_ESPN) December 7, 2022
News that Judge would stay in New York came just a day after an over-eager tweet from MLB insider Jon Heyman connected Judge to the San Francisco Giants.
While the tweet was deleted, the sense that Judge could make the jump was in the ether, with monster offers from both the Giants and the Padres on the table to potentially lure away the reigning AL MVP.
Instead, Judge chose to stick with the Yankees, but he didn’t come cheap.
—Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) December 7, 2022
For Judge, the new deal represents a huge win after betting on himself in the 2022 season.
Judge entered the year knowing free agency was on the horizon. Before the start of the 2022 season, Judge turned down a $213.5 million offer from the Yankees that would have kept him in New York for seven more years — an offer made public by Yankees general manager Brian Cashman.
“I was a little upset that the numbers came out,” Judge told TIME magazine recently of his previous offer. “I understand it’s a negotiation tactic. Put pressure on me. Turn the fans against me, turn the media on me. That part of it I didn’t like.”
As it turns out, for Judge, the pressure made diamonds.
Had the Yankees upped their offer in private during the offseason, there’s a chance Judge’s contract could have been settled with ease. Instead, Judge bet on himself, leaving his play for the 2022 season to determine his next contract. It was a decision that came with a lot of risks but also a lot of potential rewards.
If Judge had faltered through 2022, seen his power numbers drop, or suffered a career-altering injury, turning down more than $200 million could have left him with a lifetime of regret. Conversely, with a big year, Judge could take himself to the open market and earn an even bigger payday.
Judge’s bet on himself paid off to an almost unimaginable degree, hitting 62 home runs to break the AL record held by Roger Maris since 1961. He was named AL MVP, and clearly, there is no better time to be named “most valuable” than right before your value is about to be measured in millions.
—Joe Pompliano (@JoePompliano) December 7, 2022
At the start of 2022, the Yankees offered Judge $30.5 million per season to stay with the team for seven more years. By December, they agreed to pay him $40 million a year for the next nine seasons.
Betting on yourself is risky, but as Judge learned, when you win, you win big.