It has taken time but Aaron Judge has reportedly reached an agreement with the New York Yankees to stay in the Bronx.
The 30-year-old has agreed a nine-year, $360million deal, according to reports.
Judge had a blockbuster 2022 with the Yankees, hitting an American League record of 62 home runs and eclipsing the long-standing record held by Roger Maris.
But as his terms expired, Judge took time to consider his future and the San Francisco Giants were hopeful of tempting Judge back to California, where he grew up.
Judge was reportedly in San Diego when the Yankees put the $360m offer on the table. The San Diego Padres made a late offer too, according to Mark Feinsand of MLB.com, but once the Yankees showed their hand, Judge’s decision was made.
It cannot be underestimated how much of a significant boost for the Yankees it is that Judge is staying on the east cost.
Aaron Judge is set to stay at the Yankees after agreeing a nine-year, $360million deal
Judge had a historic 2022 season for the Bronx Bombers, hitting a record 62 home runs
But Judge was in the final year of his Yankees deal and was a free agent as the season ended
Only on Tuesday night did manager Aaron Boone admit it was ‘stressful’ waiting to hear what the 30-year-old would decide.
Boone added that the Yankees were holding fire on other plans for the upcoming season until they knew whether they had Judge.
Judge was pictured back in California over Thanksgiving and was filmed in San Francisco, being asked why he was there.
‘Just visiting family and friends,’ Judge said, although it is believed he held talks with Giants while in California.
Judge rejected a seven-year, $213m offer from the Yankees before the start of last season but always suggested he hoped to stay in New York.
With Judge’s deal, which is expected to be finalized soon, the Yankees now have three contracts valued at more than $300million. Designated hitter Giancarlo Stanton, 33, is still playing on the 13-year, $325 million contract he signed with the Miami Marlins before being traded to the Bronx before the 2018 season.
That deal runs through 2028, when the Yankees will have a $25 million club option.
Then there is nine-year, $324million deal that was given to starting pitcher Gerrit Cole before the 2020 season. That contract is set to expire after the 2028 campaign, when Cole will be 37.
After those three, the Yankees’ highest-paid players, by average annual salary, include third baseman Josh Donaldson ($23million), first baseman Anthony Rizzo (two years, $40million), infielder D.J. LeMahieu ($15million), as well as outfielder Aaron Hicks and starting pitcher Luis Severino, both of whom have an AAV of $10 million.
Even with the Judge signing, the Yankees’ $202 million payroll still trails that of the crosstown Mets, who currently have $228 million allocated for the 2023 season, according to Spotrac.
Yankees manager Aaron Boone (right) said it was ‘stressful’ waiting for Judge’s decision
Judge pictured with wife Samantha Bracksieck at Monday’s Tampa Bay Buccaneers game
MLB’S LARGEST CONTRACTS
Player Length/Total Value/Average Salary
- CF Mike Trout, Los Angeles Angels: 12 years/$426m/$35.5m
- RF Mookie Betts, Los Angeles Dodgers: 12 years/$365m/$30.4m
- RF Aaron Judge, New York Yankees: 9 years/$360m/$40m
- SS Francisco Lindor, New York Mets: 10 years/$341m/$34.1m
- SS Fernando Tatis, San Diego Padres: 14 years/$340m/$24.2m
- RF Bryce Harper, Philadelphia Phillies: 13 years/$330m/$25.3m
- DH Giancarlo Stanton, New York Yankees: 13 years/$325m/$25m
- SS Corey Seager, Texas Rangers: 10 years/$325m/$32.5m
- SP Gerrit Cole, New York Yankees: 9 years/$324m/$36M
- 3B Manny Machado, San Diego Padres: 10 years/$300m/$30m
‘I think both sides, we want to come to an agreement,’ Judge said back in March. ‘I know both filed numbers but that doesn’t mean the communication stops.
‘Hopefully, we can continue to communicate and kind of find a number that works for both of us. I want to play here, I want to finish my career here. There’s no better place to play.’
On Tuesday, Judge told TIME that he was frustrated that details of his $213m offer were leaked by the Yankees – quotes which were interpreted by some as a negative sign on his Yankees future.
‘We kind of said, “Hey, let’s keep this between us,”‘ Judge said.
‘I was a little upset that the numbers came out. I understand it’s a negotiation tactic. Put pressure on me. Turn the fans against me, turn the media on me. That part of it I didn’t like.’
But Judge is now set to continue cementing his position as one of the all-time greats to play for the Yankees.
The 30-year-old spoke to Tom Brady on his Let’s Go! podcast shortly after striking home run 62 and said he was humbled to see his name alongside the finest to play baseball.
Judge is good friends with Tom Brady and has spoken to him before at length on his career
Judge finally struck his record 62nd home run in October against the Texas Rangers
His mom, Patty, who adopted him as a baby, was in the stands for the historic moment
‘Roger Maris, Babe Ruth, Mickey Mantle, the list goes on and on. You see them round Yankee stadium with their World Series rings, those are Yankee legends and baseball greats,’ Judge told Brady.
‘How could I ever be mentioned with those guys? I’m just starting my career, a couple years in – what are you guys talking about? It’s always a humbling experience being in the same sentence, being mentioned as some of those greats.
‘But like you say, it’s tough to get used to. I wake up every day and try and help the Yankees win a ball game, I never see myself up there with Babe Ruth or Roger Maris but it’s something I never take for granted.
‘At Yankee Stadium we have a little sign that says “just do your job”.
‘I could have been 0-4 the night before, I could have been 4-4 the night before, hit a walk off, whatever. Well guess what? That’s all over with. Now when you step out onto this field you’ve got to do your job. That for me is what builds championship teams.’
Judge watched Brady in action for Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Monday night as they defeated New Orleans Saints 17-16.
Brady joked on his podcast that he’d try and get Judge to quit baseball for football.
‘I was wondering what it would take to get you down in Tampa to be a tight end for us next year,’ Brady said. ‘It looks pretty good to me – the way he runs, the size, the catch radius, the power!’
But it’ll be baseball, and specifically the New York Yankees, where Judge will be spending the next nine years of his career.
Away from the game, Judge is a private character. He married his longtime girlfriend, Samantha Bracksieck, in a secret ceremony in Hawaii last December.
Growing up in California and attending Linden High School, Judge excelled at baseball, basketball and football – hence Brady’s Tight End pitch.
When it came to basketball, Judge was a force as well. Growing into a six-foot-six, 205 pound frame by his sophomore year, he would go on to be named an all-state center as a senior. Judge now stands at six-foot-seven.
‘Growing up I always thought I’d be a basketball player because I was so tall,’ he once told local newspaper The Record.
‘When it came to my junior year, I started getting a lot of letters for football. But once I started going to a lot of baseball camps I knew this is what I’m going to go with.’
When Judge was just two days old, he was adopted by his parents – school teachers Patty and Wayne – something he didn’t find out about until he was age 10.
‘I think it was like, “I don’t look like you, Mom. I don’t look like you, Dad. Like, what’s going on here?”‘ he recalled.
‘They just kind of told me I was adopted. I was like, “OK, that’s fine with me. You’re still my mom, the only mom I know. You’re still my dad, the only dad I know.”‘
‘Nothing really changed. I honestly can’t even remember too much, because it wasn’t that big of a deal. They just told me I was adopted, and I said, “OK, can I go outside and play?”‘
The Yankee has continuously spoke highly of his adoptive parents, stating that he is ‘blessed’ to have the pair in his life during a 2015 interview.
‘I feel they kind of picked me,’ Aaron told the New York Post. ‘I feel that God was the one that matched us together.’
‘We’re more blessed than he is,’ mom Patty gushed of Aaron. ‘Really, it was all meant to be.’
Patty was in the stands for every Yankees game as Judge closed in on HR 62. It finally came in October against the Texas Rangers in Texas.