Aaron Judge is staying with the New York Yankees on a $360m, nine-year contract, according to a person familiar with the deal.
The source confirmed the deal to the Associated Press and Judge’s new contract was reported by multiple other outlets, including ESPN and MLB Network.
Judge will earn $40m per season, the highest average annual payout for a position player. The contract trails only Mike Trout’s $426.5m deal with the Los Angeles Angels and Mookie Betts’ $365m pact with the Los Angeles Dodgers for biggest in baseball history. The latter two players’ contracts are for 12 years, meaning they earn less per year than Judge.
Judge was offered a long-term deal by New York before last season that was worth $213.5m over seven years from 2023-29. But he turned it down in the hours before opening day in April.
The 6ft 7in Judge bet on himself and won. He set an American League record with 62 homers in 2022, powering the Yankees to the AL East title. He also tied for the major league lead with 131 RBIs and just missed a Triple Crown with a .311 batting average. New York were swept by Houston in the AL Championship Series, but Judge became the first AL MVP for the Yankees since Alex Rodriguez in 2007.
By rejecting the Yankees’ preseason offer, the 30-year-old gained $146.5m and an extra two guaranteed seasons. The northern California native also visited with the San Francisco Giants last month, and there were most likely more teams monitoring the market for the slugger.
Judge’s decision will have a domino effect on several teams and free agents. His status held up at least some of New York’s offseason plans, but general manager Brian Cashman made it clear his team would wait patiently to see what Judge wanted to do.
In the end, the patient approach worked.
Judge was selected by New York in the first round of the 2013 amateur draft and made his big league debut in 2016, homering in his first at-bat. A year later, he was one of baseball’s breakout stars. He hit .284 with 52 homers and 114 RBIs in 2017, winning the AL Rookie of the Year award. The four-time All-Star has 220 homers and 497 RBIs in seven big league seasons.