The WFAN legend was a bit of a party pooper after Aaron Judge landed a historic nine-year, $360 million deal to remain in pinstripes.
“It’s an extreme contract,” Francesa said on his latest BetRivers podcast. “It’s a bad contract. The Yankees will pay dearly on this contract in Years 7, 8, 9. I don’t think there’s any question about that. He will not be the same player, because nobody is. You don’t know how gracefully he’s going to age, how productively he’s going to age. The bottom line is he’s had injury problems and he’s going to be 31 in late April. There is no question that at nine years, $360 million, the Yankees went way past where they wanted to go.”
The Yankees made Judge the highest-paid everyday player in baseball history early Wednesday morning, beating out a fierce push by the Giants and a more lucrative last-second offer by the Padres. Judge’s decision brought an end to one of the more high-profile free agency sagas in recent memory. And it was a tremendous relief to the Yankees and their fans given how real the possibility of losing the American League home run king felt.
“I understand why they did it,” Francesa said. “They made their fans happy. The Yankee fans are smiling today. They wanted their player back. It’s their player. They want him to be there and to be only a Yankee. So they have that now. For those who need that, they got it. Now it’s about building a winning team. And the Yankees have work to do.”
The Yankees “kept the world from falling in” by re-signing Judge, Francesa said. But they still only kept the status quo by retain him. Now they must keep spending and build a team equipped to finally take down the Astros and end a 13-year World Series drought. And that will require a lot more than bringing Judge back.
“If you’re a Yankee fan today, I know you are happy,” Francesa said. “Some of you are overjoyed. You won’t be overjoyed with this contract six or seven years from now. But that doesn’t matter. There are going to be plenty of home runs, plenty of great moments from Judge before that. No one can discount that. But there has to be big postseason moments. And those have been few and far between. That’s what has to change.”
James Kratch can be reached at [email protected]