Introducing The Black Face Of Baseball | Aaron Judge Secures Nine-Year, $360 Million Bag To Retire In Pinstripes

Aaron Judge gets record deal from Yankees
(Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)

The New York Yankees finally came correct with a deal that was acceptable for their slugger superstar Aaron Judge, to the tune of nine years for $360 million. The MVP of the American League will sign the largest contract ever awarded to a free agent in Major League Baseball history. The deal surpasses Bryce Harper’s 13-year, $330 million deal with the Phillies in 2019.

The deal attempts to right the wrong with the outfielder as the Yankees failed to reach a contract extension with the team ahead of Opening Day after a final extension offer that was seven years, $213.5 million.

After the Yankees were swept in four games by Houston during the AL Championship Series, Judge was asked if he still hoped to stay in New York.

You Be The Judge

“I’ve been clear about that since I first wore the pinstripes,” Judge said. “But we couldn’t get something done before Spring Training, and now I’m a free agent. We’ll see what happens.”

On Tuesday, Judge flew to San Diego to decide between the pinstripes and other competitive offers from the San Francisco Giants and San Diego Padres, a late entry to the bidding party. The Yankees were ultimately his choice, especially after managing general partner Hal Steinbrenner met with Judge face to face in Tampa, Florida, hoping he would remain “a Yankee for life.”

Steinbrenner has also reportedly said the team would name Judge as the Yankees captain, a first since Derek Jeter.

“Certainly, we’d love to have our player back — we’d love to call him our player every step of the way as he follows what looks like a career path right to Cooperstown,” Yankees general manager Brian Cashman said to MLB.com.

The Yankees drafted Judge with the 32nd overall pick in 2013. He won AL Rookie of the Year honors in 2017 after hitting a then-rookie record 52 home runs. He surpassed that record during the 2022 campaign. A four-time All-Star, he has 220 homers and 497 RBI in seven seasons in the big league.

The 30-year-old hit free agency after hitting an American League-record 62 homers to break the mark set by Roger Maris in 1961. He hit .311/.425/.686 with an AL-leading 131 RBI, landing his first-ever MVP award.

Righting Pinstripe Wrongs

Still, Judge wasn’t happy when the news of his rejection of the Yankees’ initial offer leaked to the media on April 8 at a news conference held by Cashman.

“We kind of said, ‘Hey, let’s keep this between us,'” Judge said to Time magazine. “I was a little upset that the numbers came out. I understand it’s a negotiation tactic. Put pressure on me. Turn the fans against me, turn the media on me. That part of it I didn’t like.”

Judge discussed the topic in a closed-door meeting held in Yankees manager Aaron Boone’s office the night of the Yankees’ season-ending AL Championship Series loss to the Astros.

“I knew that he was a little disappointed about that,” Boone said to MLB.com. “We talked at length that night. I don’t think it was intended to be a tactic or anything like that. We knew it was going to be constantly speculated on and out there. We kind of wanted to run to the situation. I don’t think it’s a factor in anything going on.”

With the past behind them, Judge looks to continue his impact in Major League Baseball continuing to make history in pinstripes.

Rhett Butler is a Boxing Writer Association of America Journalist, Play-By-Play Commentator, Combat Sports Insider, and Former Mixed Martial Arts and Boxing Promoter. The New York City native honed his skills at various news outlets including but not limited to: TIME Magazine, Money Magazine, CNN's Wolf Blitzer Reports, and more. Rhett hosts the PRITTY Left Hook podcast, a polarizing combat sports insider's take featuring the world's biggest names.