Former Yankee slugger Alex Rodriguez believes there’s a 50% chance that Aaron Judge leaves the Bronx Bombers in free agency.
“There’s about a 50 percent chance that he comes back to the Yankees,” Rodriguez said on the New York Post’s “The Show” podcast.
Judge, who is slated to hit free agency for the first time in his 7-year major league career after this season, rejected a seven-year extension worth $213.5 million before the year.
The two sides were headed to arbitration to determine his salary for his season, but they avoided that contentious outcome by agreeing to a $19 million deal, with $500,000 in potential award bonuses.
But that did not resolve Judge’s long-term status in the Bronx, as he is free to test the market in the coming offseason.
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Betting on himself appears to be the right move for the 30-year-old, as his recent extraordinary play will likely warrant a much larger contract than the $30.5 million per year average he turned down from the Yankee front office in April.
Judge has recorded an MLB-leading 29 home runs this season (4 more than anyone else), while posting the 5th-most RBIs with 60. Through 299 plate appearances heading into Wednesday night’s contest, the slugger has seen a .281/.360/.612 stat line.
Fans in the Bronx will surely be devastated if Judge were to find a new home elsewhere, and Rodriguez’s comments will provide no comfort — saying Judge’s uniqueness makes his potential next contract likely even more lucrative.
“The most iconic player in our game today, that’s lacking big, unique, iconic players, and the most iconic franchise in the world in the New York Yankees,” he said. “There’s a marriage made in heaven, but they both gambled, and I think that it’s gonna cost the New York Yankees a fortune.”
For his part, Rodriguez had signed a 10-year deal worth $275 million after winning the MVP trophy in 2007, while just two years older than Judge.
If the Pinstripes refuse to cough up the necessary funds for Judge, he will have many suitors elsewhere — including the Texas Rangers, San Francisco Giants, Los Angeles Dodgers, Boston Red Sox and the cross-town New York Mets.