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Aaron Judge Likely to Sign Nine-Year Contract in Free Agency

Inside The Pinstripes on FanNation 12/3/2022 Max Goodman
© Provided by Inside The Pinstripes on FanNation

According to this MLB insider, it will take a nine-year deal to get Aaron Judge to sign this offseason in free agency

Teams interested in signing Aaron Judge in free agency this offseason will need to be ready to commit to the slugger through his age-39 season. 

It's "increasingly likely" that Judge will land a nine-year contract this winter, per Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic.

In other words, the Yankees will need to make a decision regarding how many years they are willing to offer Judge. New York has already presented the superstar with an eight-year contract worth approximately $300 million, per Jeff Passan of ESPN. Earlier this year, before Opening Day, Judge declined a seven-year extension worth $213.5 million from New York.

In order for Judge's contract to set a new record for average annual value among position players, the outfielder will need to make more than $35.5 million per year. That's the record-setting AAV connected to Mike Trout and his contract with the Angels.

That in mind, the Yankees will find themselves in familiar territory, negotiating what could be a nine-year contract. Gerrit Cole's deal with New York includes a salary of $36 million per year, totaling $324 million over nine seasons. 

The Yankees aren't the only team involved in the Judge sweepstakes, though. Judge recently visited with the Giants, his hometown team. Rosenthal noted that the Dodgers are interested in Judge on a "short-term, high-dollar deal" while other mystery clubs are also lurking on the open market. 

Judge is going to sign a lucrative deal this winter. That we know for certain. The 30-year-old is coming off one of the best single seasons in baseball history, a campaign in which the outfielder won his first Most Valuable Player Award and crushed 62 home runs, setting the new American League record.

Giving any player nine guaranteed seasons comes with plenty of risks. As much as Judge has silenced concerns about his durability in recent years, can he continue to stay on the field and produce at a high level for the rest of his 30's? 

Judge needs to think about whether he would leave the Yankees in order to secure one additional year in free agency (if New York sticks with their current offer). Perhaps the Giants blow Judge's camp away and offer a ninth year. Would that be the decisive factor in this process?

Then again, would the Yankees really risk losing their leader and the face of the franchise over one final year when they've already demonstrated a willingness to spend $300 million dollars for Judge? If a ninth season is the difference, and owner Hal Steinbrenner truly wants to retain Judge, you have to figure New York will take that step.

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