On Tuesday, it was reported by MLB Network's and the New York Post's Jon Heyman that reigning American League MVP and AL single-season home-run record holder Aaron Judge was signing with his hometown San Francisco Giants… only for Heyman to quickly backtrack. Perhaps Judge was close to a deal but wanted to give the Yankees one last chance to match or beat it. Evidently they have, as they've reportedly re-signed Judge to a nine-year, $360 million contract.
New York's odds to win the 2023 World Series, though, remain +900 at DraftKings. Clearly, oddsmakers listed that price with the expectation Judge would return. The Giants had put a full-court press on, even having Steph Curry reach out. The Padres were also reportedly in on Judge
Ahead of last season, the Yankees offered Judge a seven-year extension worth $213.5 million, but Judge was almost insulted and bet on himself. It was a wise decision as the 30-year-old had one of the greatest seasons in baseball history, hitting an AL-record 62 homers to break the mark set by Roger Maris in 1961.
Judge became the fourth player in AL/NL history to hit 62 or more homers in a single season, joining Barry Bonds (73 in 2001), Mark McGwire (70 in 1998 and 65 in 1999) and Sammy Sosa (66 in 1998, 64 in 2001 and 63 in 1999). Judge earned his first MVP award while also hitting .311/.425/.686 with an AL-leading 131 RBI.
In nine postseason games, Judge hit .139 (5-for-36) with two homers and three RBI. He was 1-for-16 in Houston's four-game AL Championship Series sweep. Still, he is clearly the organization's brightest star since Derek Jeter and likely will be the first player named team captain since Jeter. Judge's 11.99 at-bats per home run ratio is the third-best in MLB history.
In terms of overall contract size, Judge's $360 million is third behind the Angels' Mike Trout ($426.5 million) and Dodgers' Mookie Betts ($365M), both former AL MVPs. But their deals are over 12 years each. The $40 million average annual value on the contract establishes a new record among position players and trails only the $43.33 million AAVs of Mets pitchers Max Scherzer and Justin Verlander — both of whom are on much shorter-term deals.
Yankees owner Steinbrenner had spoken directly with Judge since the season ended, making it clear the team planned to do whatever they could to keep him in pinstripes. The Giants (+3000 to win World Series) are now left to pivot to Plan B, which likely will include a strong run at All-Star shortstop Carlos Correa.
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