Last offseason, it was well reported that the New York Yankees offered Aaron Judge a substantial contract extension of seven years, $213 million, but Judge decided to bet on himself and demand the bag he desired. That turned out to be the most brilliant decision of his life as Judge earned $147 million in one season as he signed a massive contract for nine years at $360 million to return to the New York Yankees.
Two of the most serious suitors for Aaron Judge were on the West Coast–the San Francisco Giants and San Diego Padres, but Hal Steinbrenner and the whole Yankees organization can now breathe a sigh of relief and focus on retooling other parts of their roster. Steinbrenner has been criticized for some of his moves as Bronx Bombers fans miss his father George Steinbrenner, but they must now apologize to him as he was able to retain Judge for the rest of his career.
It has been reported that Aaron Judge had larger offers from other cities, but it seems that he values his career legacy as a Yankees franchise cornerstone. After Derek Jeter, the franchise may likely reward with him the rare privilege of gaining the captaincy job with the most prestigious organization in the MLB.
The Hal Steinbrenner apology must now begin from the Yankees fans. It was understandable to a certain extent because of the talent Judge possesses with the bat and in the field, but it was his durability problems and postseason concerns as the main reasons why Steinbrenner may have hesitated to overpay Judge. Judge is arguably the most entertaining MLB player alongside Shohei Ohtani, so it was expected for New York fans to heavily criticize Steinbrenner because they felt the franchise must do everything to keep Judge.
Coming off a fourth-place finish in AL MVP in 2021, the $213 million extension may have been increased by a tad bit, but Steinbrenner stood his ground. Aaron Judge showcased why he deserves the contract he demands as he tallied the most home runs in American League history with 62 HR along with 131 RBI and 133 runs scored, which led to him being named MVP, too.
The postseason performance of Judge was far from what was desired, especially in the ALCS against the Houston Astros. Even with the subpar numbers, the fans were preparing themselves for a possible departure in the next couple of months, and many of them blamed Steinbrenner because of his stubbornness in not giving Judge what he deserves before the start of the 2022 campaign.
Some Yankees fans had little hope of Steinbrenner giving in to Judge’s requests because he is known to let star free agents walk like Robinson Cano. As the offseason was percolating and more rumors were spreading on Aaron Judge’s destination, it was plausible for New York fans to accept the reality and possibly settle for a Carlos Correa-type of a star.
However, Hal Steinbrenner and the Yankees front office were convinced that Aaron Judge deserves a contract that is over $300 million even if it pays him past 40 years old. Judge will inevitably be overpaid at 38 years old for $40 million because he will highly unlikely to contribute similar numbers over the past couple of years.
Even if that is the case, the New York Yankees fans would not be able to stomach it if they lost Aaron Judge for nothing. Now that Judge is locked up for the foreseeable future, the next step is returning to the World Series by surrounding him with complementary pieces that would propel them to the Promised Land.