With each passing home run, each passing big night, Aaron Judge’s success is followed by murmurs of just how much he would receive in free agency if he continues on this torrid stretch.
After Tuesday’s four-hit, two-homer night, the Yankee slugger is leading the league in home runs while batting .313, looking more and more like a player who made the right decision to bet on himself and turn down the Yanks’ seven-year, $213.5 million extension offer.
Of course, Brian Cashman and the Yankees would prefer Judge never reach free agency, and have left the door open for continued discussions during the season, even with Judge focusing on the field while an arbitration hearing for his 2022 salary awaits next month.
According to Jon Heyman, if talks were to resume, the Yankees would be willing to pay their superstar a higher amount than their previous offer, and were willing to do so before Judge’s Opening Day deadline arrived.
“The Yankees are willing to go higher,” Heyman said on his new podcast “The Show” with Joel Sherman of the New York Post. “They were willing to go higher when they cut off negotiations. Time kind of ran out because they set Opening Day as the deadline… I think they would have gone to $31 million-$32 million.”
That still likely won’t be enough, especially if Judge continues on this pace. He turned down $30.5 million per year, so an extra $1.5 million per year likely won’t get a deal done if Judge continues to remain a favorite for AL MVP.
Follow Ryan Chichester on Twitter: @ryanchichester1