Judge's record deal with Yanks official

December 20th, 2022

NEW YORK – Nearly two weeks have passed since agreed to a nine-year, $360 million contract that figures to keep the American League’s Most Valuable in pinstripes for the remainder of his playing career. Now it’s time for the celebration.

Judge and his wife, Samantha, are expected to participate on a dais that will feature managing general partner Hal Steinbrenner, team president Randy Levine, team COO Lonn Trost, general manager Brian Cashman, manager Aaron Boone and Judge’s agent, Page Odle.

The Yankees announced Judge’s new nine-year pact in a press release on Tuesday. It is the largest contract awarded to a free agent in Major League history, surpassing Bryce Harper's 13-year, $330 million deal with the Phillies in 2019.

Fresh off a season in which he surpassed Roger Maris’ 61-year-old AL record for home runs in a single season, Judge flew from Tampa, Fla., to San Diego on Dec. 6 to make his call. He selected the Yankees over competitive offers from the Giants and the Padres, who were a surprise late entry to the bidding.

Ultimately, the decision to match San Francisco’s offer was made by Steinbrenner, who called Judge directly from a vacation in Italy and asked, “Do you want to be a Yankee?”  When Judge replied, “Yes,” Steinbrenner offered the ninth year and a deal was struck, sending the Judges off on a happy Hawaiian holiday.

From the first day after the Yankees’ postseason exit, Steinbrenner prioritized retaining Judge, meeting with the slugger face to face on at least one occasion in Tampa, where he told him that he and his family hoped Judge remained “a Yankee for life.” Steinbrenner has also said naming Judge as the Yankees’ first captain since Derek Jeter (2003-14) is on the table.

“Clearly, in Aaron Judge’s case, he is spectacular,” Cashman said. “Ultimately, if that’s something the Steinbrenner family wants to discuss, that will be coming from their chair, just like when we retire numbers. Anytime that’s a decision they want to make, I support that decision 110 percent.”

Judge exceeded all expectations after turning down a $213.5 million extension in the spring; it was, as Cashman called it, “the all-time best bet.” Judge responded with a season for the ages, batting .311/.425/.686 in 157 games while leading the Majors in homers (62), runs (133), RBIs (131), slugging percentage, on-base percentage, OPS+ (211) and total bases (391).

“He’s an amazing player, and an amazing person that certainly has the respect of everyone in that room,” Boone said. “Guys look to him, look up to him. When you have a player of that caliber that is as beloved and important as he is on a daily basis, you want to do your best to hang on to that.”