The New York Yankees are willing to restart contract negotiations with Aaron Judge at any point. So, what is he waiting for?
Per Brendan Kuty of NJ.com, the Yankees have been willing to open extension talks with Judge, but have thus far been greeted with the dial tone.
Judge turned down a seven-year, $214 million deal before the season started, and suddenly that feels like a very smart decision. He’s slashing .315/.384/.692 with an OPS of 1.076. All of that amounts to 14 home runs and 30 RBIs.
Those sorts of behemoth numbers — should they last the entire season — will amount to the contract Judge wants and then some.
Yankees: Aaron Judge willing to bet on himself
Yet, Judge is willing to play the long game. He bet on himself before the season, and unless the Yankees come to him with the exact offer he prefers, he’ll continue waiting. An MVP season will ensure him the money he wants, either in the Bronx or elsewhere.
Per MLB insider Jon Heyman of the New York Post, the Yanks are willing to go to whatever heights necessary to keep Judge, at least right now:
"“Judge may end up being the highest-paid position player… The Yankees are willing to go higher. They were willing to go higher when they cut off negotiations. Time kind of ran out because they set Opening Day as the deadline… I think they would have gone to $31 million-$32 million.”"
Those numbers — $31 million or so — will not cut it now. Unless Judge falters at some point this season, he’s looking at a record contract. New York could’ve avoided this situation had they simply played ball with Judge before the season, but many pundits (at the time) thought their $214 million offer was in the ballpark of what he should expect on the market.
And I’ll be the first to admit I was wrong. Should these trends continue, the Yankees will admit their faults with their wallet.