The WFAN legend remains steadfast in his stance. He does not believe the Yankees should cave to Judge’s contract demands, even as he leads the Majors in home runs during the Bombers’ best-in-baseball start to the season. And if Judge ends up walking in free agency this winter, Francesa does not think it is the end of the world.
“I would not change my stance on him in any way. And here it is: At 30 years of age, I am not going to get tied down with a contract that is going to get me four dead years on the backend of the contract,” Francesa said.
“I would give him, if he wants, six years. And I will pay him $35 million a year for the six years. I may even go a little bit more than that per season. But it’s a six-year contract. That’s it. I would probably say $220 million is my max. But I would go six years, $220 million. And I would say, ‘Hey, if you can’t live on that, I don’t understand the problem.”
A six-year, $220 million deal would pay Judge just under $37 million a year. That would be about on par with Angels star Mike Trout, the highest-paid position player in the sport. And if Judge argues for a longer contract term, Francesa already has a rebuttal planned.
“You’re in New York, you’re on the Yankees, you’re going to be in the postseason every year,” he said. “You’re going to be able to make plenty of money in endorsements on top of this $35-plus million you’re going to make as your base salary every year. I don’t see how anything else is needed.”
Francesa said his biggest motivation for the shorter deal is to avoid the sinkhole contracts that aged badly with faded stars like Miguel Cabrera and Albert Pujols — especially given Judge’s size and injury history.
“If he has to have a 10-year contract that pays him somewhere in the $350 million range, let him be someone else’s outfielder down the line,” Francesa said. “I am not going to take six great years, or six good years, with Judge and then be shackled by four years where I have a guy who I don’t want to play, or who is hurt, and I’m paying $35-plus million a year.
“That’s the worst thing you can wind up doing in this sport, is wind up with those players. Those players kill you. They kill you, those contracts. Don’t get shackled. Six years, big pay. That’s where I go with Judge.”
James Kratch can be reached at [email protected]