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Per MLB insider Jon Heyman, the New York Yankees are preparing their first contract offer for star outfielder Aaron Judge, who they hope to sign to an extension.
The Yankees and Judge have been linked to an extension for quite some time now, but the question has always been how much money this front office would be willing to give him.
Judge is a great player when healthy, don’t get me wrong. The only thing standing in the way of the soon-to-be 30-year-old receiving the money he wants is that same factor, however.
While he played in 148 games last season, Judge was active in just 112, 102 and 28 games the three years prior. There’s a reason the Yankees are concerned.
Aaron Judge contract: What will Yankees offer?
Judge will turn 30 years old just after Opening Day, which hints the length of any such contract could be the issue, rather than the AAV.
Heyman thinks the Yankees will make Judge an offer which would make him the fifth highest-paid outfielder in baseball, behind only Mike Trout, Mookie Betts, Bryce Harper and teammate Giancarlo Stanton. There is a rather wide gap between Stanton, who is fourth on that list at $325 million, and Christian Yelich, who is fifth at $215 million. That $110 million gap, as well as the years involved, is what will ultimately be negotiated between both sides.
Judge would surely rather have the final numbers on said contract be closer to Stanton, who he believes he’s fairly comparable to. The Yankees, meanwhile, could hedge their bets with a contract closer to that of Yelich.
Either way, the Yankees are not struggling for money. Per Forbes, they became the first baseball team with a valuation over $6 billion just this year. They can afford Judge, and Stanton and more.
But baseball is a business, and owners are notoriously frugal. This may take awhile.