The New York Yankees are taking Aaron Judge to arbitration on Friday. That is a colossal mistake.
Aaron Judge is, arguably, the best player in baseball right now, as the New York Yankees outfielder is leading the majors in runs (55), home runs (25), and slugging percentage (.644).
He is in his final season before free agency but, because of the lockout, arbitration hearings were not held during the offseason or during Spring Training. Instead, they are being held now.
In fact, the Yankees and Aaron Judge will have their arbitration hearing on Friday in Tampa. Unless they agree to an 11th-hour deal, an arbitration hearing between Judge and the Yankees can only hurt the club.
The Yankees can only be hurt by going to arbitration with Aaron Judge
For the 2022 season, New York Yankees star outfielder Aaron Judge thinks that he should be making $21 million in arbitration. However, the Yankees filed for $17 million, a $4 million gap between the two sides.
As FanSided insider Robert Murray said in the most recent episode of The Baseball Insiders podcast, it could really hurt the Yankees and their chances to re-sign him this coming offseason.
“That is a very scary thing for the Yankees because if you’re taking Aaron Judge … to an arbitration hearing, it could fracture that relationship,” Murray said. “You hear these stories about teams taking players to arbitration and teams ripping them in front of their faces and those relationships not recovering from it. For me, it would not be worth the risk.”
On Tuesday, though, Judge said that he is “looking forward” to the hearing, despite what he has heard from others on the arbitration process.
“I’m looking forward to it,” Judge said Tuesday afternoon ahead of the Yankees’ game against the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field (h/t ESPN). “I’ve had people in my agency, past players, that went through the process, said they hated it. And then other people that went through it said it was actually kind of good to hear about [yourself].”
“It’s probably tough, but for me, it’s plain and simple. I love this team, I love this organization and everything, but there’s a business side of it that I don’t like at times, I don’t think a lot of people like, I don’t think the team likes it [either] that you have to go through and then you move on.”
Judge has been the biggest reason why the Yankees are 50-18 and on pace for the best record in MLB history (119-43). Judge loves the Yankees and wants to win but the Yankees might be shooting themselves in the foot by not wanting to pay Judge $4 million more than they would like to.