The MLB arbitration deadline has come and gone, but the New York Yankees and slugger Aaron Judge aren’t anywhere close to a deal for next season.
The question now is whether the two sides can reach a deal before Opening Day — at which point Judge has made it very clear he won’t continue talks until the season concludes.
As the New York Post explained, the two sides don’t have to stop talking just because the deadline has come and gone. However, they still have to get a deal done quickly so the decision doesn’t go to an arbitration hearing. Judge has already said he won’t be distracted during the season by contract talks, so the clock is ticking to get something done before the relationship between the organization and its star outfielder turns sour.
It’s very easy to see why Judge, who will be a first-time free agent after this season, wants his payday. The 29-year-old slashed .287/.373/.544 with a team-leading 39 home runs on 158 hits last season. That kind of hitting power, which has helped propel the Yankees up the American League ladder, is something that should be rewarded.
The Post also speculated that New York didn’t make a big splash in free agency because the team wants to put that money toward locking down Judge. With that in mind, it seems odd Judge and Yankees are still so far apart on a monetary figure.
It is completely possible Judge and the Yankees come to an agreement before first pitch on April 7. With how far apart the two sides are, however, it will be a scramble to agree on an extension before the season gets going.