While he’s continued to sit on the precipice of history with 60 home runs, the Aaron Judge free agency rumor train is going full-steam ahead. How much more money will he make this winter by betting on himself? Will he stay with the Yankees or suit up for another team in 2023 and beyond?
ESPN’s Kiley McDaniel polled some MLB executives (more than a dozen, to be exact) to get their opinions on how Judge’s trip to free agency could transpire. Combining all of their contract predictions together came out to an average of 8.6 years and $320 million.
Let’s not forget what Judge turned down in spring training. The Yankees offered him a seven-year, $213.5 million extension that would’ve started in 2023 (he’s making $19 million this year). So, he could get another season added to his contract term, which is notable since next year will be his age-31 campaign. But what’s more notable is how his historic performance could potentially put another $100 million in his pocket.
Now that’s how you bet on yourself, folks.
Regarding the team he’ll sign this monster contract with, McDaniel received nine responses. The organizations that came up weren’t surprising — it’s full of teams who typically hang out at the top of the payroll standings. Four execs think he’ll stay in the Bronx. Two think he’ll go across town to play for the Mets. Another two are predicting the Giants, and one final exec said either the Giants or the Dodgers.
These potential destinations jive with who we think are some of the biggest threats to the Yankees this winter, too. But honestly, can you imagine the Dodgers splurging to sign him? That lineup is already stacked with Mookie Betts, Freddie Freeman, Gavin Lux, and Will Smith. Having him in L.A. just feels unfair. We’ll see what happens, though.
Any way you slice it, Judge’s choice to not sign that extension will end up being one of the best decisions he’s ever made.
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