Judge and Yankees finalize 9-year, $360 million contract

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NEW YORK — American League MVP Aaron Judge and the New York Yankees on Tuesday finalized their nine-year, $360 million contract, the third-largest deal in baseball history.

New York announced the agreement and called a news conference for Wednesday at Yankee Stadium to discuss the contract, which was agreed to on Dec. 7 subject to a successful physical.

Judge hit 62 homers last season to break the previous AL record of 61 set by the Yankees’ Roger Maris in 1961. Just before opening day, Judge turned down the Yankees’ offer of $213.5 million over seven years (2023-29).

By betting on himself, Judge gained an additional $146.5 million and two guaranteed seasons. He turns 31 in April.

Judge’s contract trails only Mike Trout‘s $426.5 million deal with the Los Angeles Angels for 2019-31 and Mookie Betts‘ $365 million pact with the Los Angeles Dodgers for 2021-32. Judge’s $40 million average salary is the highest for a position player, behind only New York Mets pitchers Max Scherzer and Justin Verlander at $43.33 million.

Judge hit .311 and tied for the major league lead with 131 RBIs. He hit 16 home runs more than any other player, the largest gap since the Philadelphia Athletics’ Jimmie Foxx hit 58 in 1932 and the Yankees’ Babe Ruth had 41.

A Northern California native, Judge met with the San Francisco Giants last month. He could be in line to become New York’s first captain since Derek Jeter retired after the 2014 season.

Colin Poche, Rays go to arbitration just $125,000 apart

Colin Poche torn UCL
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ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. – Reliever Colin Poche went to salary arbitration with the Tampa Bay Rays on Tuesday with the sides just $125,000 apart.

The gap between the $1.3 million the pitcher asked for and the $1,175,000 the team offered was the smallest among the 33 players who exchanged proposed arbitration figures last month. The case was heard by John Woods, Jeanne Vonhof and Walt De Treux, who will hold their decision until later this month.

A 29-year-old left-hander, Poche had Tommy John surgery on July 29, 2020, and returned to the major leagues last April 22 after six appearances at Triple-A Durham. Poche was 4-2 with a 3.99 ERA and seven saves in 65 relief appearances for the Rays. He struck out 64 and walked 22 in 58 2/3 innings.

Poche had a $707,800 salary last year.

Tampa Bay went to arbitration on Monday with reliever Ryan Thompson, whose decision also is being held until later this month. He asked for $1.2 million and the Rays argued for $1 million.

Rays right-hander Jason Adam and outfielder Harold Ramirez remain scheduled for hearings.

Players and teams have split four decisions thus far. All-Star pitcher Max Fried ($13.5 million) lost to Atlanta and reliever Diego Castillo ($2.95 million) was defeated by Seattle, while pitcher Jesus Luzardo ($2.45 million) and AL batting champion Luis Arraez ($6.1 million) both beat the Marlins.

A decision also is pending for Los Angeles Angels outfielder Hunter Renfroe.

Eighteen additional players are eligible for arbitration and hearings are scheduled through Feb. 17. Among the eligible players is Seattle utilityman Dylan Moore, who has a pending three-year contract worth $8,875,000.