Aaron Judge signs 9-year, $360 million deal to stay with Yankees after scare from Giants

Yankees Mets
Aaron Judge
AP Photo/Corey Sipkin

The face of the Yankees franchise is back. 

Aaron Judge has agreed to a massive nine-year, $360 million dollar deal to stay in the Bronx, according to multiple reports. The signing ends a long saga that had hung over the entire Yankees season and throughout the offseason since they were swept out of the playoffs by the Houston Astros. 

Judge had been the biggest prize on the free agent market this year and was expected to make a king’s ransom with the new contract that he signed. The San Francisco Giants had been New York’s biggest threat to steal the superstar slugger away from them and as the day progressed on Tuesday it seemed like the winds had started to blow in their favor after Jon Heyman of the New York Post prematurely reported that he and the Giants struck a deal.

It was reported earlier on Tuesday that the Giants had made an offer to Judge in the ballpark of $360 million, but the belief in baseball circles was that the Yankees had remained the favorite to sign Judge. After reports of the deal with the Yankees started to surface, MLB Network’s Jon Morosi reported that Judge had turned down higher offers from other teams to stay with the Yankees. 

Judge’s decision came down to the Yankees, Giants and San Diego Padres, according to ESPN’s Jeff Passan. The new deal for Judge gives him the highest average annual value for a position player in the history of Major league Baseball and easily surpassed the previous record Mike Trout set. 

Judge had played his cards close to the vest since the 2022 MLB season began, leaving plenty of room for interpretation as to where he would end up signing. The Yankees failed to come to an agreement by opening day and New York brass rubbed Judge the wrong way when they went public with the seven-year, $213.5 million offer that he had turned down. 

“We kind of said, Hey, let’s keep this between us,” Judge said in an interview with TIME, which was published on Tuesday. “I was a little upset that the numbers came out. 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.” 

Judge is coming off a historic season in which he broke Roger Maris’ home run record, was named American League MVP and was in contention for the Triple Crown.  The MVP season played out with the contract situation looming over the entire year, yet he never appeared to let it get to him while he was out on the diamond.

Judge batted .311 in 2022 with 177 hits and 131 RBI. The AL MVP also had an OBP of .425 and a slugging percentage of .686. Additionally, he walked 111 times.

He led the majors in RBI, on-base percentage, slugging percentage, runs (133), total bases (391), OPS (1.111), and WAR (10.6). Alvarez came in third with 37 home runs and Ohtani finished fourth in the AL with 34 homers.

The superstar had played all 729 MLB games in his career in Yankee pinstripes. Over the course of his time in the Bronx he had a career .284 batting average, 220 home runs and 497 RBIs. 

Asked about his time with the Yankees after the season ended, Judge gave a very warm response. 

“Getting a chance to wear the pinstripes and play right field at Yankee Stadium, it’s an incredible honor that I definitely didn’t take for granted at any point,” Judge told reporters after the Yankees were eliminated from the playoffs.. “I always check myself pregame and I say a little prayer and I kind of look around the stadium and I kind of pinch myself. Very few individuals get a chance to run on that field and do that and play in front of the fans that support us throughout my whole six years here.

“It was a special time, and I just kick myself for not bringing home that championship for them.”

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