Aaron Judge has separated himself to be one of the game’s top players when he is healthy.
Last year and in 2017, that was not an issue. In 2017, he played in 155 games, and this past season, he saw action in 148 games.
It’s clear: a healthy Judge = a top-five player in the sport.
It isn’t always that easy, however. Judge spent significant time on the Injured List in three straight seasons from 2018-2020. This put a lot of pause on Judge fanatics who thought a contract extension during those years was warranted.
However, Judge silenced the critics and had a terrific 2021 campaign. He hit .287 with 39 home runs, 98 runs batted in, and an OPS+ of 149, nearly 50% above the league average. Many Yankee fans thought that an extension would be agreed to prior to the lockout, but that was not the case. If I were Brian Cashman, I would be reluctant to give him an extension myself. Here’s why
Although he had a healthy 2021 campaign, he hasn’t shown he can do it two years in a row. He couldn’t even make it through a 60-game COVID shortened 2020 season without getting hurt. In fact, he played less than half of that season. While he is a great player, sometimes availability is your best quality. For Judge, I’d think that would be the case.
If I were to give out a contract extension to Judge (I love playing this game), it would be a short-term, high-money contract.
I would think Judge and his representatives would want nearly $40 million annually, so a three-year, $120 million contract would be considered. However, we don’t know what Yankees brass thinks about the situation, but asking a die-hard Yankee fan what he would do, this is it.
There’s still a lot that remains to be seen, but it needs to be noted that the Yankees had an entire month to have contract negotiations with Judge, and they didn’t.
It’s one of the many things to watch out for when the work stoppage ends.
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