Last Updated on June 5, 2022 by Lil Ginge
In March 2022 I wrote a blog post titled “The Yankees Should Probably Trade Aaron Judge. Here’s Why.” Well, I was wrong. The Yankees must absolutely sign Aaron Judge to a long-term deal.
My main argument against the Yankees signing Judge was, essentially, that Aaron Judge was too old to give a 7 to 10-year deal. Judge is now 30, which means a 10-year deal would take him all the way to age 40.
40 years old is ancient in Major League Baseball now.
But Judge has now made it impossible for the Yankees to let him walk or trade him away in 2022. The man has to be a lifelong Yankee. Let’s discuss why.
The Yankees’ Previous Offer To Aaron Judge
According to New York Yankees GM Brian Cashman, The Yankees offered Aaron Judge a seven-year, $230.5 million deal this past offseason. This would have amounted to an average annual value (AAV) of $30.5. That would be the 15th best AAV in MLB right now. Judge reportedly rejected the offer on April 8th.
Unfortunately for the Yankees, Judge decided to go out and prove in 2022 that he is far better than the 15th best player in Major League Baseball. Maybe he was offended by the offer and decided to show the Yankees what was up.
Aaron Judge Is The Face Of The Yankees Franchise
Aaron Judge is more than just a great baseball player. Though he is that too. Judge is the face of the New York Yankees and one of the main faces of Major League Baseball along with players like Mike Trout and – I’m not even sure who else? Mookie Betts maybe? Altuve?
The Yankees are currently 38-15. That .717 winning percentage currently makes them the best team in baseball. They stand 6.5 games up on Toronto for the division lead and 7 games ahead of Tampa. Judge is a major part of this equation.
Aaron Judge is worth more to the Yankees than to other clubs. The Yankees are also worth more to Judge than other clubs are. That’s because his success and identity are now so tied up with the New York Yankees franchise and the city of New York.
The benefits of Aaron Judge for the Yankees go beyond his baseball skills. He’s a beloved player. He brings in fans. He aligns perfectly with their brand. He’s their most valuable franchise player since Derek Jeter.
Judge stands to benefit from the kinds of endorsement deals and brand equity that only being a New York Yankee can bring you in baseball. Even when those teams are performing at the peak of their powers, teams like the Los Angeles Yankees, Houston Astros, and Atlanta Braves simply do not have the same cache.
Aaron Judge Is Having The Best Season Of His Career
Offense has been way down in MLB in 2022. People are blaming the physical baseballs for this drought in scoring. But, it doesn’t really matter why for Aaron Judge. He’s mashing the baseball and putting up the season of his career anyway.
To date, Aaron Judge is batting .316 / .384 / .679 with 20 home runs and 41 RBIs. 20 homers leads MLB, with Mookie Bets at 16 and Yordan Alvarez at 15. Several players have tied for 14, including New York Met slugger Pete Alonso.
I think if the Yankees let Judge walk now, with those numbers and the Yankees dominating baseball, their fanbase will be horrified. That may be somewhat lessened if the Yankees go on to win the 2022 World Series, which is now a distinct and likely possibility.
But how do you let the offensive player who brought you that championship walk away for free at age 30? He likely has another 5 good years of baseball in him. How many more championships could he help bring in that timespan?
The Yankees: Profits Over Wins
Of course, we know that the current Yankees ownership appears to care more about sustained profitability than they do winning championships. Hal Steinbrenner is not George Steinbrenner. For Hal, good enough is good enough.
But Judge is the player bringing in the money, and that definitely means something to Hal. As baseball fans, we look at baseball contracts in light of the statistics put up by the player and the wins they add to the board.
Yankees ownership is looking at what Aaron Judge could add to the Yankees’ bottom line for the next decade. If he sees lots of dollar signs, that may be enough to push Hal into signing the long-term deal – any long-term deal – that Judge wants from them.
The Yankees Must Sign Aaron Judge To A Long-Term Deal
Letting your franchise player walk at age 30 may make sense sometimes. But not when your franchise 30-year-old is putting up his best season. And making you the best team in baseball. And increasing your odds singlehandedly of a World Series ring. And you are the New York Yankees.
But, The Yankees now have little to no choice in the matter. I was wrong. They can no longer trade Judge or let him walk away for nothing at the end of the year.
The New York Yankees must absolutely sign Aaron Judge to a long-term deal at the end of the season. And they may not even regret it in the end.
If you enjoyed this article on The Yankees needing to sign Aaron Judge, make sure to check out my article The Mets’ First Month of Baseball Has Been Fantastic.