Yankees, Aaron Judge continue extension talks

The New York Yankees are continuing contract extension talks with the player who has arguably been the face of their franchise for the last five years but are sill far apart while facing a looming deadline, according to Joel Sherman and Jon Heyman of the New York Post.

The Yankees’ rival — the Boston Red Sox — have been having negotiation troubles with two of their superstar franchise cornerstones this week as well, in Rafael Devers and Xander Bogaerts. Sherman and Heyman reported that Judge and the Yankees were using Opening Day as a deadline to get a new deal done, but New York will kick off their 2022 regular season on Friday afternoon against Boston, so time is running out.

“That would take him north of Yoenis Cespedes and leave Judge only behind Mike Trout ($35.54 million) and Mookie Betts ($30.4 million) for the largest ever among outfielders. The Yankees are almost certain not to exceed Trout’s annual value, but it is always possible they would push further — perhaps toward or above Betts for a player that Hal Steinbrenner has told his lieutenants he badly wants to sign,” Heyman and Sherman reported. “The Judge camp could look at the Rodriguez average as archaic since it was agreed to after the 2006 season. Judge also gets to sell that he not only is among the elite players in the game, but the best and most popular homegrown Yankee since Jeter. Therefore, the expectation going into this negotiation was that the slugger would shoot not only to be the Yankees’ highest-paid position player ever by annual value, but among the highest-paid players by at least annual value in the sport.”

Jon Morosi of MLB Network later tweeted further financial details of the Yankees latest offer.

The New York Post duo also noted that Judge and New York haven’t yet reached an agreement on a contract for the 2022 season, which means they could “settle, settle within an extension or go to an arbitration.” Heyman and Sherman added Judge had previously asked for $21 million this year and the Yankees countered with a $17 million offer.

The outfielder earned Rookie of the Year honors in 2017, when he led the league and set what are still career highs in home runs (52), runs scored (128), walks (127) and strikeouts (208). Judge also made his first of three All-Star teams and won his first of two Silver Slugger awards that season, while finishing as the AL MVP runner-up.

Judge registered 39 home runs, 98 RBIs and a .287/.373/.544 slash line in 2021. In 2,068 career at-bats covering 572 regular-season games, the 29-year-old has racked up 158 home runs, 366 RBIs and a .276/.386/.554 slash line.

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