TORONTO – The Yankees are heading to the Tampa Bay area this week with perhaps the biggest challenge ahead. Certainly, they come with the best record in baseball and a huge lead in the American League East. And just last week they swept the Rays back to the Bronx. Their pitchers allowed the fewest runs in the big games and their players have achieved the most tracks at home.
But this week could determine not only this season, but the next decade of the franchise.
Wednesday, before the team returns to the Bronx to face the Astros, is the scheduled time for Aaron Judge’s’s 2022’s arbitration. The process has never been described as a positive relationship-building experience by past players. just ask Dellin Betances. It’s a process that Judge, whose historic home-grown rhythm this season is not supposed to take into account, remembers since the Yankees beat Betances and tough feelings grew at the club.
With the Yankees looking like World Series contenders, they should not leave any more harsh feelings in their relationship with Judge.
The best case scenario, they can find common ground for a deal for this season or long term that keeps them out of the room – as they did at the last minute with Luis Severino in the spring of 2019.
To be fair, the Yankees tried to avoid this.
The sides talked all spring, but less than two hours before the start of the Yankees’ 2022 season, GM Brian Cashman announced that the team had failed to reach an agreement with the franchise person. Judge turned down a deal that would have paid him at least $ 230.5 million over the next eight years, bringing him to the line to become a free agent at the end of this season.
The slugger, who originally set the Opening Day deadline for negotiations, still does not have a fixed contract for this season, as he and the team had a $ 4 million discount when they exchanged numbers to try to avoid arbitration. Due to the owners padlock, the arbitration process will enter the season.
The 30-year-old was spending one of his most complete years in the big leagues.
The three-time All-Star cut 0.287 / .373 / .544 with 0.916 OPS, 39 homers and 93 RBI in 148 races in 2021. According to the Baseball Savant, Judge was among the league leaders in average speed (95.8 miles). per hour), maximum output arrow (119) and hard success rate (58.4%), all while leading the Yankees in WAR (5.4).
His six years in the major leagues were excellent, averaging 276 / .386 / .553 and 0.940 OPS. He is the Rookie of the Year for 2017, second from Jose Altuve the same season and Home Run Derby champion.
“Obviously our intention is for Aaron Judge to stay as the Yankee of New York as we move forward and I know his intention is also good,” said Yankee Generalist Brian Kasman after the talks failed. “Obviously entering these efforts in a new arena, which would be at the end of the season, when the free dealership starts and maybe that will determine what its real value would be in the market, because we certainly could not agree on it. the phase for contract extension. . »
Cashman also made public the terms offered to the Judge, which the slugger said “disappointed” him.
Seven years at $ 30.5 would make him the highest paid player per year (or average annual value) in Yankee history and the second highest in the team behind Gerrit Cole. It would give him the second highest AAV of an outfielder in the game, behind only Mike Trout.
The $ 4 million seemed like a small salary gap for the franchise, especially now. Judge is ready to set a 63 home runs franchise record. It is ahead of the big ones with 25 home runs and is second in slugging rate at 0.654. He is fifth in the RBI with 50.
Obviously these numbers should not be taken into account when deciding this year’s salary by the referee, but should be taken into account by the Yankees. The referee is the leader in this team and in the club. The Yankees are on their way to the playoffs and look like contenders to end the franchise’s playoff drought. They have to leave Tampa on Wednesday night with their slugger happy and their team chemistry intact.