What happened Friday in the run-up to a possible parting of ways between the Yankees and Aaron Judge was the classic case of the stupid and even the most stupid.
For Hal Steinbrenner to offer a seven-year, $213 million ($30.5 AAV) extension to the 30-year-old judge, who had just two perfectly healthy seasons with the Yankees and missed 156 games due to injuries since 2017, would more than qualify him to earn the One Dumb Owner accolade for this offseason.
But for Judge to reject that offer and bet on an MVP season in 22 to force the Yankees to give him money to Mike Trout was even dumber. And make no mistake, this deal from the start was about Mike Trout – who himself only played 90 games in the first three years of his $430m extension – and his $36m AAV. . As Judge continued to tell the Yankees, he honestly believes he is as good or better a player than Trout and intends to be paid accordingly. The only problem with this rating is that Trout currently has three MVP awards to Judge’s none.
Steinbrenner got a hint that this was going to be a very tough negotiation in the arbitration process last month when the Yankees filed for $17 million, which was one of the highest raises in league history. arbitration, and the judge hit back at $21 million, which would be more than double his 2021 salary. The Yankees don’t often go to arbitration with their players, but when they do, they don’t. no compromise on their numbers and still win – which bodes ominously for this acrimony with Judge.
I’m told that a number of agents, when they saw the Yankees’ offer to the judge, were stunned that Steinbrenner chose to go so far in years and money. Surely he must have known, like all those six- and seven-year deals with players in their thirties, that the contract will eventually become an albatross. But Steinbrenner clearly didn’t care. Judge is a local Yankee who the team heavily marketed as a franchise player and Steinbrenner loves him and was determined to lock him down.
Assuming Judge, as he swore, now takes this in free agency after the season, he better have an MVP year – which is already potentially compromised if he doesn’t get a shot and has to miss nine. games in Toronto against the leader of the Yankees Rival of the AL East, the Blue Jays. What if he doesn’t this year? Does he really believe that Steinbrenner will continue to negotiate against himself and improve what is already an offer that no club other than the Yankees would make to him?
I doubt Judge is a baseball history student. However, if he were to encounter a premature fall at bat early on or some strain in that dreaded oblique, he might want to take a look at the case of Juan Gonzales in 2000. Gonzales was also 30 and had already won two MVP award when Rangers traded. him to the Tigers, who then sought to keep him out of free agency by offering him an eight-year/$140 million contract extension. Gonzalez rejected the offer, had a below-average injury-plagued year for Detroit in 2000, and ended up getting a one-year/$10 million free agent contract with the Indians. Four years later he was “Juan Gone” – as in baseball.
Meanwhile, it was interesting to note that at the same time the Yankees were unable to agree with Judge on an extension, the Red Sox found themselves at an impasse with their own hometown stalwart, the shutdown -short 29-year-old Xavier Bogaerts. The difference is that, as Hal Steinbrenner has made it clear he wants to keep Judge at Yankee, the Red Sox seem perfectly content to let Bogaerts opt out of his three-year/$60 million contract and walk out at the end of the season. – starting with their signature. from Trevor Story for six years / $140 million this offseason. It wouldn’t be the first time the Sox parted ways with a star player they felt had become too expensive (see Jon Lester in 2014 and the Mookie Betts trade in 2020), but other than trying to lock down A 25-year-old third baseman Rafael Devers, the Red Sox operate on the analytical credo of loyalty without a long-term contract for players in their 30s.
Given that the Yankee under Brian Cashman is married to analysis as much as any other baseball team, it says even more that Hal Steinbrenner offered to extend the judge to 38 with the second-highest AAV in baseball. Speaking to the media after Friday’s game, Judge said, “I’m just disappointed because I expressed my desire to be a Yankee for life.” This, after giving up $230 million, which would have done just that. Please.
IT’S A MADD WORLD, MADD
Speaking of players who rejected multi-million extensions, do you think Carlos Correa, who reportedly turned down a 10-year/$275m offer from the Tigers before the lockdown, realizes he has to pay two agents to their services this winter? In January, there was a report in the Athletic that the William Morris Endeavor agency, which represented Correa, was at risk of losing its MLBPA certification because it had purchased a number of minor league teams, under the responsibility of a Diamond Baseball Holdings subsidiary. , was a potential violation of union regulations that prohibit agents from having financial interests in professional baseball teams. But according to one long-time unionist, these officer reprimand/sanction/decertification processes are always kept in-house and always resolved privately without ever being made public. Nobody knows how it came out, but coincidentally, a week after the Athletic report, Correa fired his agent Endeavor and hired Scott Boras, who eventually landed him a three-year, $105 million deal with the Twins. . Nevertheless, it is stipulated that Correa will have to pay both Boras and Endeavor – whose issue with the union is still unresolved – the same 5% commission for all the work they have done for him… Between their contract of millions with DraftKings, the launch of “Pregame Spread” daily betting tips broadcast in studio on the MLB Network last week, and the display of “money lines” on their TV show bottoms, Isn’t it time baseball put an end to this hypocrisy about the game of baseball and made Pete Rose eligible for the Hall of Fame? I mean they welcomed twice convicted steroid cheater Alex Rodriguez who sued them, back in their good graces as the face of one of their network TV partners, and gave all the sign-stealing cheating Astros a pass, come on! Rose has long since paid her dues for her transgressions. Let a committee of veterans of his peers decide his fate – especially now in the context of how baseball has made a complete turnaround when it comes to play.