Yankee superstar Aaron Judge expressed his disappointment that he had not received a contract extension with the Bronx Bombers, saying after Friday’s Opening Day that he has “blocked it out” as the season begins.
“I’m disappointed, but we weren’t able to agree on an extension,” said Judge. “I block it out. I’m not a free agent — I’m not a free agent searching for a job. I know, no matter what, I will be playing here for the Yankees for this whole year.”
Judge had previously set an Opening Day-deadline to agree on a new contract with the Bronx Bombers, but the two sides failed to manifest a new deal before Friday afternoon’s game against the Red Sox.
The fan-favorite is eligible to become a free agent after the season, after years of arbitration (with his current-season salary yet-to-be-determined), which has left many Yankee fans worrying that Judge could seek employment elsewhere next year.
“I’m just disappointed,” Judge said. “I’ve been vocal about wanting to be a Yankee for life.”
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His Yankee-for-life desire may be a pipe dream, as the pinstripes have looked to extend Judge, but he’s so far rejected any advances from the front office.
Brian Cashman, the longtime Yankees general manager, told reporters that they’d offered Judge a seven-year extension worth $213.5 million ($30.5 million per season), but the slugger rejected that proposal.
“Obviously our intent is to have Aaron Judge stay as a New York Yankee moving forward,” Cashman said.
Yet, the Yankees boast one of the highest payrolls in the MLB at $239,570,714 — which trails only the Los Angeles Dodgers and their cross-town rival New York Mets.
Cashman, talking to reporters, suggested that the team would wait until a bidding war erupts for Judge next offseason, so as to determine “the real market value” for the outfielder.
“We’ll be entering those efforts in a new arena, which will be at the end of the season, when free agency starts,” the GM said. “Maybe that will determine what the real market value will be.”
The $30.5 million per season number would be the largest contract handed out by the often-high-spending Yankees.
Nevertheless, Judge stands to command significant money on the open market, and the Yankees look poised to see the season through while letting Judge hit the open market.