With each passing home run (he hit two more on Monday), the Aaron Judge contract discussion grows louder and more pressing, as other teams could look to offer a load of money to the league’s leading home run hitter in free agency if his continues on his current pace.
The Yankees and Judge could avoid that altogether if they return to the negotiating table and come up with a new contract extension, which they were unable to do before Opening Day when the Yanks offered him a seven-year extension worth $213.5 million.
Judge turned it down, and it seems to be paying off. But Boomer has an idea where the Yanks could offer the same seven-year extension, but still make it more fair for Judge, who is making himself a perennial MVP candidate.
“He wants [$21 million],” Boomer said, noting the salary for this season that Judge wanted in his final year of arbitration, while the Yanks countered with $17 million. “How about we give you $10 more million…as opposed to the [$17 million] we’re offering you in arbitration? And then the seven-year extension. He’s making more money this year, he’s getting paid for what he’s doing right now, significant money, and maybe it gets him to a point where he says yes to that.”
That would be a $27 million salary for this season if they tack on $10 million to the team’s offer, or $31 million if it’s tacked on to Judge’s proposal. It’s unlikely that would get it done, considering the current contract offer would give Judge an AAV of $30.5, or right in line with what it would be in 2022 if the Yanks went that route. Considering big-name free agents like Carlos Correa and Corey Seager are earning higher AAV than that, it will take more to get Judge to sign given the year he’s having (and the one he had last year), but Boomer says Judge, and the Yankees, need to proceed with caution.
“You see what happened to Scherzer? Oblique, eight weeks out,” Boomer said of the Mets ace and the record contract he signed over the offseason. “What I’m saying is what the Yankees are thinking is ‘we’ll go out to 38 years old with him,’ but this is a cautionary tale. You give guys money, and you can’t make it through the season.
“Look at Robbie Cano. There are so many cautionary tales out there. That’s why I would sign him more now if I were the Yankees, and see if I can get him to sign that contract until he’s 38.”
Boomer is focused on Judge’s injury history (which is moving further and further into the rearview since the start of last season) and the back end of a potential contract, but Judge is focused on what he’s done lately. Would a compromise of frontloading a contract by paying him more this season be enough to avoid both an arbitration hearing next month and free agency this winter?
“The numbers that Aaron Judge is putting up now are very unlikely that he’ll be putting those up when he’s 36, 37 and 38,” Boomer said. “That’s the bottom line, and that’s what the analytics geeks, the guys from Yale, Harvard, and MIT, and all that crap, are telling Brian Cashman. I understand that. That’s why I thought it was a fair deal.
“The way to make it even more fair in the eyes of Aaron Judge is to pay him even more this year, because he’s given you an unbelievable performance up to this point.”