Before Friday's arbitration hearing, the Yankees and Aaron Judge agree on a $19 million contract.
Aaron Judge and the Yankees came to an agreement on a contract before the arbitration hearing, which was set to start at noon on Friday. Judge will make $19 million this season. If he wins American League MVP, he will get an extra $250,000, and if he wins World Series MVP in 2022, he will get another $250,000.
The $19 million settlement, which got rid of the arbitration hearing, is a big increase from the $8.5 million he made in 2020 and the $10.1 million he made last year. Multiple sources say that the $19 million is also in the middle of the offer from Judge's camp ($21 million) and the one the team would have brought to the arbitrator ($17 million). If the hearing had happened, the arbitrator would have had to pick one of those numbers because the system doesn't allow for compromises like that.
This is the last season that Judge can go to arbitration. After this season, he will become a free agent for the first time. He will then get one of the biggest paychecks in MLB history. Before the season, Judge turned down a seven-year, $213.5 million extension offer from the Yankees. If the Yankees had gotten their way, they would have paid him $17 million this year, which would have added up to about $33 million per year until he was 36. It is said that Judge wants $36 million per year.
Instead, Judge said no and decided to bet on himself, which is looking like a better choice with each game. Judge is on track to win the Most Valuable Player award, hit 60 home runs, and possibly lead the Yankees to their first title since 2009. If he does all of that, his value will go up so much that it will be like getting a blank check. Judge's value on the field has gone up even more this year because Aaron Boone likes to play him in center field instead of Judge's usual, less important spot in right field.
Judge's production in 2022 is well-timed to boost his value as a free agent, but it wouldn't have been taken into account in the arbitration case. All of this would have been settled a lot sooner if not for the MLB lockout, which meant that hearings had to be held during the season. Now that Judge's salary has been decided, no other players from the 2021-22 arbitration class need to settle their disputes.