Introduction to Aaron Judge's free agency: What will shape his next contract and where the Yankees star could land

Introduction to Aaron Judge’s free agency: What will shape his next contract and where the Yankees star could land

Once the New Yankees’ 2022 season dirges have all played out, the thoughts of fans and team watchers alike will turn to yet another playoff loss to the Houston Astros and to the dominating scenario of the League. coming winter – Aaron Judge’s impending free agency.

Judge, coming off a 2022 campaign in which he hit an American League record 62 home runs, will be the most coveted of the 2022-23 class of free agents. Considering his skill set, the dominance of his walking year, and the importance of the team he may have played his last game for, Judge will undoubtedly be the most talked about free agent of the upcoming offseason. So we’re here to do just that – talk about Aaron Judge and his upcoming free agency.

Given that the offseason has yet to begin, there’s a lot of guesswork in what follows, but there are also some basic facts that will be relevant to Judge’s journey through the market no matter where he signs. and for how much. Now let’s start setting the stage for it all by taking a quick look at each of the six factors that will shape Judge’s future.

Judge’s Legendary Walking Year

As noted, Judge has hit 62 homers this season, but that’s not the extent of his excellence in 2022. In 157 regular season games, he’s slashed 0.311/0.425/0.686, giving a ridiculously high OPS+ of 211. The judge made a run for the Triple Crown and he led the AL on the march. As has been the case throughout his career, he also boasted top bat ball metrics, which projects continued elite production in the future.

Moreover, Judge, apparently despite his imposing physical dimensions, is not a one-dimensional puncher. He stole 16 bases this season and took extra base 50% of the time against a league average figure of 43%. Judge also spent the majority of his defensive innings in center field, and in the ALCS he reminded us that he is capable of pulling traps like this:

This athleticism bodes very well for Judge in regards to his future aging curve and suggests that he will retain his skills for a long time. This is the key for a free agent who, in 2023, will start his season at 31 years old.

The Yankees’ attempts to sign him

The Yankees brass have repeatedly expressed a desire to keep Judge in the fold by signing him to a long-term extension, and there have been repeated negotiations to that end leading into the 2022 regular season. The Yankees GM , Brian Cashman, deviating from established norms, publicly stated that the Yankees had offered Judge a seven-year, $213.5 million contract extension at the end of spring training, which Judge has refuse. It wasn’t a competitive offer even before Judge’s legendary 2022 season, and the fact that Cashman spoke about it in the media suggests he didn’t realize or at least refused to accept that it wasn’t. not a competitive offer. Like so many other pending free agents, Judge had no desire to trade mid-season, and as far as we know, that was the last offer made by the Yankees. If they had upped their proposition, then, well, they probably would have said it loud enough.

The qualifying offer

Here’s a slightly lesser consideration in this whole thing, but it’s one you’ll hear about soon enough. The Qualifying Offer (QO) is basically a one-year offer that teams can offer to their pending free agents under most circumstances (players who have already received a QO or been traded during their walking year are not eligible for OQ). The QO value is an average of the top 125 earners in MLB and will be worth $19.65 million for the 2023 season. If a player accepts the QO that is offered, then he is under contract for the following season at the QO figure of this year and therefore his free agency is postponed for another year. A player accepting the OQ is also free to work out a multi-year extension with the team.

A team that extends a QO to a pending free agent is entitled to draft pick compensation if that player declines the QO and signs a major league free agent contract with another team. Depending on several factors – the value of the contract he signs and the player’s former team’s revenue sharing and luxury tax status – this compensatory draft pick will fall at the end of the first round or at the end of of the competitive equilibrium turn. B. On the other side, the team that signs a free agent who has declined a QO must give up at least one draft pick and under certain circumstances lose money from their international bonus pool, which is used to sign international amateur free agents.

In Judge’s case, the Yankees will undoubtedly offer him a QO, and Judge will almost certainly turn it down. Non-superstar free agents may find their free agent markets somewhat stifled by the burden of a QO and the loss of draft picks, but free agents of Judge’s caliber are basically immune to such effects.

When Judge becomes a free agent

Eligible players become free agents on November 6. However, after that there is a five-day blackout period during which free agents can only negotiate with the team they played for in 2022. On November 10, players who have not re-signed during the silence period become eligible to trade with any team. November 10 is also the deadline for teams to make qualifying bids. After a player receives a QO, they have 10 days to decide whether to accept it or not, but they can negotiate with other teams during this time provided the silence period is over. In Judge’s case, he’ll likely decline the QO immediately and be part of the free agent scrum eligible to do business with any team starting Nov. 10.

The Judge’s Next Contract

According to Jon Heyman, the judge countered that the Yankees are offering a nine- or 10-year proposition at $36 million a person, and, again, that was before he came out and wrote a WAR 10.2 which will likely lead to him winning the AL MVP award for 2022. Showcasing a deal worth up to $360 million doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll get it, but it’s kind of a benchmark.

As for what contract Judge eventually signs as a free agent, whether with the Yankees or another suitor, our own Mike Axisa took a (very) deep dive into the matter in late September, when the historic scale of the Judge’s 2022 season was obvious. . He landed on a potential nine-year, $342 million deal.

To extend this particular spirit into hive territory, we added this figure to the best guesses made by the other five members of the CBS Sports MLB editorial and editorial staff and arrived at a rounded average figure of $358 million. over nine years. . In other words, our estimate is that Judge will sign a contract that will span his roughly 38-year season and pay him more than $350 million. Market conditions are fluid, of course, but it’s probably close to its price this winter.

Possible Judges Landing Spots

A return to the Yankees remains the most likely outcome. They haven’t been spending according to their nearly limitless income lately, but losing Judge would be a blow to an organization that already looks depleted. If Judge decides to inking elsewhere, high-earning clubs like the New York Mets, Chicago Cubs, Boston Red Sox, Los Angeles Dodgers and San Francisco Giants will be in contention. Potential dark horses include the St. Louis Cardinals, Texas Rangers and, why not, the Houston Astros. This is of course not an exhaustive list, and every reputable free agency seems to bring in one or more surprise suitors. That will likely be the case with Judge once the madness begins very soon.

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