Despite all the speculation that Aaron Judge would take his talents to San Francisco to play for his childhood favorites the Giants, the superstar slugger has reportedly decided to end his MLB free agency tour by re-signing with the New York Yankees.
Over the last couple of days, the Aaron Judge chase has picked up serious speed as it looked to be a two-horse race between the Yankees and Giants for the reigning American League MVP. On Tuesday, reports claimed that San Francisco offered the AL home run king a contract worth as much as $360 million.
- Aaron Judge stats (2022): .311/.425/.686, 62 home runs, 131 RBI, 16 steals, 207 wRC+, 11.5 FanGraphs’ WAR
That certainly put New York in a difficult position since it trumped the reported $300 million deal the organization offered their top star last week. However, despite all the rumblings on social media of Judge making the bold step of leaving NY for San Fran, it looks like the 30-year-old is set to play many more seasons in pinstripes.
On Wednesday morning, MLB Network insider Jon Morosi broke the news that Aaron Judge is in agreement with the New York Yankees on a new long-term pact. However, ESPN MLB insider Buster Olney was the first to report the teams of the deal being for nine years, and $360 million. Matching the Giants’ offer yesterday.
Aaron Judge chooses Yankees over Giants in MLB free agency
It has been a long and winding road for Aaron Judge and New York Yankees to end up back together for the long haul. The saga of his new contract all began last spring when the two sides could not come to terms after the organization gave a lowball offer and the slugger bet on himself in the final year of his rookie deal.
That decision by the Yankees ended up costing them at least another $60 million dollars and several more guaranteed seasons as Judge went on to have a career year as he broke the AL and team home run record, won the league MVP, and flirted with winning a rare triple crown. Once the team was swept out of the postseason it all set up the biggest MLB free agent sweepstakes in recent memory.
- Aaron Judge defensive stats: 93rd percentile arm strength, 82nd percentile Outs Above Average, +3 Defensive Runs Saved
According to Jeff Passan of ESPN, Judge decided between the Giants, Yankees, and San Diego Padres overnight. Ultimately, he wanted to finish his career in New York and the Yankees’ willingness to match the Giants’ offer made the decision for him.
Given the length of the contract, New York will likely begin to cut down on the number of games Judge plays in center field. The money committed to Judge in 2023 means the Yankees will have one of the highest payrolls in MLB, likely reducing their chances of adding All-Star pitcher Carlos Rodòn.
Ultimately, this move is about marketability and image just as much as it is about baseball. Judge meant far too much to the fan base, Yankee Stadium, and the long-term reputation of the organization to allow him to leave. It comes with a hefty price tag, but the Yankees are clearly confident Judge will make them far more in return.