MLB Insider Buster Olney seems to believe that there's a distinct possibility that the Yankees and Judge are unable to work out a long-term contract to keep him in pinstripes.
When pressed, Olney acknowledged that if he had to make a bet on the matter today, he would take the field over the Yankees.
In the hours leading up to the 2022 season, general manager Brian Cashman acknowledged publicly that Judge had declined a seven-year/$213.5 million extension that would have begun in 2023.
So far, betting on himself in a contract year has proven to be a tremendous business decision by Judge, who is playing as well as anyone in the sport. Entering play Friday, Judge is slashing .304/.379/.658 with 27 home runs, 53 RBIs, 34 walks, a 1.037 OPS and a 4.0 fWAR.
Whether it's the Yankees or someone else, signing Judge to a long-term deal certainly won't be for the risk-averse. First of all, he'll be playing in his age-31 season during the first year of the new contract. Secondly, Judge struggled to stay on the field between 2018 and 2020 because of injuries.
From here, it's still very difficult to imagine Judge in another uniform next season. But perhaps we should at least open our minds to the possibility.