aaron judge yankees
Wendell Cruz | USA TODAY Sports

The Yankees have retained their man.

Aaron Judge is staying in the Bronx. The American League home run king will stay with the Yankees after coming to terms on a historic new deal. Judge is expected to sign a nine-year, $360 million contract that makes him the highest-paid player in baseball history and fights off what was a strong free agency challenge by the Giants, the team the slugger grew up a fan of in Northern California.

Jon Morosi of FOX Sports was first with news of Judge’s agreement with the Yankees. Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic had the terms shortly after.

Judge has cashed in after an all-time prove-it season. He turned down a long-term offer from the Yankees right before first pitch on Opening Day in April. He believed he was worth more than their offer, which was for seven season and $213.5 million starting in 2023. Judge then proceeded to have one of the best seasons in team history, clubbing 62 home runs to break Roger Maris’ organization and league record and earn MVP honors.

The Yankees maintained their interest in re-signing Judge throughout his torrid campaign. But contract negotiations never resumed until he became a free agent this winter following the Yankees’ disappointing postseason exit in an ALCS sweep at the hands of the eventual World Series champion Astros. And the Yankees never seemed to have a great grasp on what Judge’s true feelings and intentions.

Did he want to be a Yankee? Was he tired of New York? How much did a return to West Coast to be closer to family matter to him and his wife? Would owner Hal Steinbrenner’s best offer be enough? The Yankees kept the faith and stayed optimistic. And in the end, it worked out for them. Judge is staying put.

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James Kratch can be reached at james.kratch@xlmedia.com

James Kratch is the managing editor of ESNY. He previously worked as a Rutgers and Giants (and Mike Francesa) beat reporter for NJ Advance Media.