It’s only been a few hours since the news broke that Aaron Judge is returning to New York, but reports have trickled out about how it all went down. While there were more enticing offers on the table, Hal Steinbrenner reportedly gave Judge a call and honored his request of another year on the deal to make him remain a Yankee.
Judge returning to the Yankees is really the first huge contract given to a returning player in free agency. The Mets locked up Edwin Diaz to a record contract, but that was before he hit the open market. Trea Turner, Jacob deGrom, and Justin Verlander have all signed with new teams, along with guys like Willson Contreras, Jose Abreu, and Josh Bell.
The Yankees knew they needed Judge and they went out and got a deal done. Will other teams learn from that?
The Red Sox have a huge decision to make and the clock is ticking on free-agent shortstop Xander Bogaerts. It won’t get any easier next year as Rafael Devers is set to hit free agency in 2023.
Former MLB player Sean Casey joined WEEI’s Rob Bradford on the Audacy Original Podcast “Baseball Isn’t Boring” and talked about what teams should learn from the Yankees re-signing Judge, and much more.
“Maybe the Red Sox are looking at this saying, OK, we go to get on top of a guy like Devers,” Casey said (16:14 in player above). “Look at Bogey. Bogey’s out there, you let a guy get out there.”
“You can fall short a little bit, but you can’t fall short a lot,” Bradford said. “What that’s telling them is you don’t value me.”
If a player signs with another team because he gets a deal he can’t refuse, that’s one thing. If it’s a fair-market deal and his most recent team doesn’t come close to matching it, that’s when things unravel.
“Listen, I’ll take a little bit of a hometown discount,” Casey said. “But I’ll tell you what, for a baseball fan to see a guy like Rafael Devers. Brother, that guy rakes. That guy’s one of the best hitters in the game and you’re the Red Sox.”
Devers is not the only upcoming free agent that should be licking his chops at some of the contracts handed out so far this offseason.
“Devers or anybody who’s going to be a free agent next year. … They’re leaving this offseason wanting more money than they thought they would,” Bradford said. “I remember talking to J.D. Martinez about this, about the CBA and how they got over on them on the CBA, they didn’t value the right things in the CBA. Remember, free agency stunk and players were taking extensions because they were worried about the money they would get, undervalued. Not anymore, man. Teams are spending money.”
Mike Trout previously had the highest AAV of any hitter in the majors at $35.5 million. Judge and the Yankees set a new standard with the $40 million per year contract.