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Judge gets his first big payday

@BryanHoch
January 10, 2020

NEW YORK -- Aaron Judge is frequently listed among the game’s elite performers, and now the slugging Yankees outfielder can boast a pay stub more in line with that estimated value. Judge and the Yankees agreed Friday to a one-year contract worth $8.5 million, a source told MLB.com's Mark Feinsand,

NEW YORK -- Aaron Judge is frequently listed among the game’s elite performers, and now the slugging Yankees outfielder can boast a pay stub more in line with that estimated value.

Judge and the Yankees agreed Friday to a one-year contract worth $8.5 million, a source told MLB.com's Mark Feinsand, a figure that represents a significant raise over the star’s 2019 salary of $684,300.

The new pact was one of nine agreed to on Friday as the Yankees avoided salary arbitration with all eligible players. Also agreeing to deals were right-handers Luis Cessa, Chad Green, Jonathan Holder and Tommy Kahnle, left-handers Jordan Montgomery and James Paxton, catcher Gary Sánchez and third baseman Gio Urshela.

Judge, who could still be a candidate for a long-term contract extension, will gain added security after providing the Yankees with three seasons of significant value for a relatively small amount. He turns 28 in April and is coming off a campaign in which Judge batted .272 with 27 home runs, 55 RBIs and a .921 OPS (143 OPS+) in 102 games. He is eligible for free agency following the 2022 season, which means he is poised to go through the arbitration process two more times if he does not sign an extension.

The 2017 American League Rookie of the Year and a two-time AL All-Star (’17, ’18), Judge has been among the fastest in Major League history to reach his home run total in terms of games played, owning 110 homers in 396 career regular-season games.

Selected in the first round (32nd overall) of the 2013 MLB Draft, Judge is one of seven players drafted and signed by the Yankees to hit at least 100 homers with the club. The others are Brett Gardner, Derek Jeter, Don Mattingly, Mike Pagliarulo, Jorge Posada and Thurman Munson.

Friday marked the deadline for arbitration-eligible players and their clubs to exchange salary figures. Players who have three or more years of Major League service but less than six years of Major League service become eligible for salary arbitration if they do not already have a contract for the next season.

The Yankees have not been to an arbitration hearing since 2017, when they defeated right-hander Dellin Betances in a battle over $2 million. Prior to that, their last trip to the arbitration table was in 2008, when they prevailed over right-hander Chien-Ming Wang.

Bryan Hoch has covered the Yankees for MLB.com since 2007. Follow him on Twitter @bryanhoch and Facebook.