TORONTO — The Yankees head to the Tampa Bay area this week with perhaps their biggest challenge ahead of them. Sure, they’re coming in with the best record in baseball and a huge lead in the American League East. And just last week they swept the Rays back to the Bronx. Their pitchers have scored the fewest runs in the majors and their hitters have scored the most home runs.
But this week could define not only this season but the next decade of the franchise as well.
Wednesday is set to arbitrate on Aaron Judge’s 2022 salary, before heading back to the Team Bronx to face the Astros. The process has never been described as a positive, relationship-building experience by the players who went through it—just ask Dallin Bettens. It’s a process that the judges, whose historic home run pace this season should not be taken into account, recalled when the Yankees beat the Batons and the hard feelings that grew in the clubhouse.
With what looks like a Yankees World Series contender, he shouldn’t let more hard feelings enter his relationship with the judge.
The best-case scenario is they can find common ground on a deal this season or longer that keeps them out of the room – as they did at the last minute with Luis Severino in the spring of 2019.
To be fair, the Yankees tended to avoid it.
The sides talked all spring, but less than two hours before the start of the Yankees’ 2022 season, GM Brian Cashman announced that the team had failed to reach an agreement with the face of the franchise. Judge turned down a deal that would pay him at least $230.5 million over the next eight years, which puts him in line to become a free agent at the end of this season.
Slugger, who initially set an opening day deadline for talks, still does not have a set contract for this season, as he and the team were waived $4 million when they decided to try and avoid arbitration. traded the numbers. Due to the owners’ lockdown, the arbitration process will go into season.
Judge, 30, was coming off one of his most fulfilling years in the big leagues.
The three-time All-Star dropped .287/.373/.544 with .916 OPS, 39 homers and 93 RBI in 148 games in 2021. According to Baseball Savant, the judges were among the league leaders in average exhaust velocity (95.8). mph), maximum exhaust velo (119) and hard-hit percentage (58.4%), all leading the Yankees in combat (5.4).
His six years in the big leagues have been exceptional, averaging .276/.386/.553 and a .940 ops. He is the 2017 Rookie of the Year, runner-up to Jose Altuve in the same season, and home run derby champion.
After the failed negotiations, Yankees GM Brian Cashman said, “Obviously, we intend to let Aaron Judge stay as the New York Yankees as we move forward and I know that’s what he intends to do, which is a good thing.” Is.” “Obviously we’re going to be entering those efforts in a new arena which will be at the end of the season when free agency starts and probably determine what its true market value will be because we couldn’t agree for sure This stage on contract extension.”
Cashman also made public the terms he offered to the judge, something that Slugger called “disappointed.”
The average annual value of $30.5 million would have made him the highest paid player per year in Yankee history and the second highest on the team behind Gerrit Cole. This would have given him the second highest AAV of an outfielder in the game, behind only Mike Trout.
$4 million seemed like a small difference in salary for the face of the franchise, especially now. The Judges franchise is on pace to score a record 63 home runs. He leads the majors with 25 home runs and is second in slugging percentage at .654. He is fifth in RBI with 50.
Obviously those numbers shouldn’t be considered when this year’s pay is decided by an arbitrator, but they should by the Yankees. The judges are the leaders in this team and club house. The Yankees are on their way to the playoffs and look like a contender to end the franchise’s World Series drought. He needs to leave Tampa on Wednesday night to please his slugger and keep his team’s chemistry going.