SAN DIEGO — Aaron Judge has issued his ruling: Court remains in session in the Bronx.
Judge is staying with the New York Yankees on a nine-year, $360 million contract, according to a person familiar with the deal.
The person spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because the AL MVP’s deal had not been announced.
Judge will earn $40 million per season, the highest average annual payout for a position player. The contract trails only Mike Trout‘s $426.5 million deal with the Los Angeles Angels and Mookie Betts‘ $365 million pact with the Los Angeles Dodgers for biggest in baseball history.
Judge was offered a long-term deal by New York before last season that was worth $213.5 million over seven years from 2023-29. But he turned it down in the hours before opening day in April.
The 6-foot-7 Judge bet on himself – and won.
Judge set an American League record with 62 homers in 2022, powering the Yankees to the AL East title. He also tied for the major league lead with 131 RBIs and just missed a Triple Crown with a .311 batting average.
New York was swept by Houston in the AL Championship Series, but Judge became the first AL MVP for the Yankees since Alex Rodriguez in 2007.
By rejecting the Yankees’ preseason offer, Judge gained $146.5 million and an extra two guaranteed seasons. The Northern California native also visited with the San Francisco Giants last month, and there likely were more teams monitoring the market for the slugger who turns 31 in April.
Judge’s decision will have a domino effect on several teams and free agents. His status held up at least some of New York’s offseason plans, but general manager Brian Cashman made it clear his team would wait patiently to see what Judge wanted to do.
In the end, the patient approach worked.
Judge, 30, was selected by New York in the first round of the 2013 amateur draft and made his big league debut in 2016, homering in his first at-bat.
A year later, he was one of baseball’s breakout stars. He hit .284 with 52 homers and 114 RBIs in 2017, winning the AL Rookie of the Year award. The four-time All-Star has 220 homers and 497 RBIs in seven big league seasons.