It is no doubt that Aaron Judge is a top-five player when healthy but with his injury concerns, what could an extension look like?
Since 2018 Aaron Judge has appeared in 232 of the Yankees 367 regular-season games. That means over the past three seasons, the 2017 Rookie of the Year has been absent for 37% of the Bombers schedule. As someone who is seen as the face of the franchise, how will Judge’s lack of availability impact his contract negotiation after the 2022 season?
If I’m Cashman It’s pretty simple. Learn from your mistakes and stop it with these mega deals.
First, it was the Stanton, then it was Cole. Stanton has been a disaster outside of his 2018 campaign and Cole has not looked like his Houston self. Both are on the books for eight more years and are owed $218 million and $288 million respectively. This team is going to be strapped for cash for a while.
Since he left Miami, Giancarlo Stanton has appeared in just 190 or 39% of the team’s regular-season games. If he remains on the IL for the rest of 2020, he will have made $405,263 a game through three seasons in pinstripes. Almost as sweet of a deal as Ellsbury’s.
Keeping all of this in mind, it’s still hard to see a situation where Judge is not on this team in 2023. All he has done since his arrival is pump money into this organization (just look at those right field seats) and this is exactly why I’m worried. This is the same Cashman who erected the “Judge’s Chamber” only a few months into Aaron’s pro career. He knows a cash cow when he sees one.
But at what price? Judge will be 30 by the time he hits free agency and if he stays healthy, will only have three full seasons under his belt. With two mammoth contracts already on the books, this front office is going to have a tough decision on their hands, especially with Clint Frazier under team control through 2024.
Any attempt to play it conservative in free agency will certainly cost them Judge in 2023. But based on recent history, the risk of signing him to a big contract may not be worth the reward.