Aaron Judge won his spring bet. Judge is a superstar outfielder who has spent his entire career with the New York Yankees. He turned down a huge contract extension before the 2022 season, hit 62 home runs in a single season, and won the Most Valuable Player Award for the American League.
On Wednesday, he was given a nine-year, $360 million contract. The contract, which was first reported by MLB Network, has been confirmed by two people with knowledge of the talks, pending a physical.
The Yankees offered seven years and $213.5 million before the 2022 season, so Judge’s bet paid off with two extra years and $146.5 million. Mike Trout’s (12 years, $426.5 million) and Mookie Betts’ (12 years, $365 million) contracts will be more lucrative than Judges.
His average annual salary of $40 million will be the most ever paid to a position player. Only Max Scherzer and Justin Verlander of the New York Mets make more, with an average annual salary of $43.3 million.
The Yankees picked Judge, who is 30, in the first round of the 2013 draft. He is a popular star player. He was the AL’s rookie of the year in 2017 after hitting 52 home runs. He has been named to four All-Star teams and broke Roger Maris’ AL home run record in 2022.
This record was given more weight because everyone with more in the NL has been linked to performance-enhancing drugs. Baseball-Reference says that he was the best in the major leagues with 10.6 wins above replacement.
Judge’s quest to catch Maris captivated the baseball world. TV networks stopped other games to show Judge’s at-bats, and Maris’s family supported him openly. Roger Maris Jr. attended games for it.
Judge’s season in 2022 wasn’t just about home runs. He had his best game ever. 311, was close to winning the Triple Crown until the last few days of the season, led the major leagues in runs scored (133), and tied for the lead in runs batted in with Mets’ Pete Alonso.
In the major leagues, slugging percentage (.686), total bases, and on-base percentage (.425) are the best. He stole 16 bases and played the right field (54 starts) and center field defense better than average. Judge grew up cheering for the San Francisco Giants, but he made a promise to stay with the Yankees until he was 39 years old.
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