THE New York Yankees failed to agree to terms with slugger Aaron Judge at the Tuesday deadline to finalize contracts and avoid the arbitration process.
Although the Yankees did agree to terms with 11 other arbitration-eligible players, the absence of an agreement with Judge means he can become a free agent at the end of the season unless an extension can be worked.
Judge, 30, had one of his best seasons in 2021, hitting .287 with 39 home runs and 98 RBIs in 148 games. The three-time All-Star has a career .276 average with a .386 on-base percentage, a .554 slugging percentage, 158 homers and 366 RBIs in 572 games.
Judge made $10.17 million last year and is asking to be awarded a $21-million salary for this year in arbitration. The Yankees offered $17 million.
According to the New York Daily News, Judge said there had been no contract talks as of Sunday. However, Yankees owner Hal Steinbrenner told the newspaper that talks would begin soon. The New York Post reported the team will make a “presentation” to Judge next week.
After a spring training workout in Tampa on Sunday, Judge said he didn’t want talks on an extension to go past the opening of the April 7 opening of the regular season.
“The last thing I want to do is be in the middle of May and, after a good series, is talking about the extension or after going 0-for-4 and people being like, ‘You should have signed that extension,’” Judge said. “We’ll try to get everything out of the way right now while we’re still prepping and getting ready for the season.
“But once it’s April 7, packed house in the Bronx, it’s gonna be time to just focus on my ballgames.”
The Yankees announced one-year agreements with 11 players. The 2022 salaries, according to multiple media reports: Miguel Andujar ($1.3 million), Joey Gallo ($10,275,000), Chad Green ($4 million), Kyle Higashioka ($935,000), Clay Holmes ($1.1 million), Isiah Kinner-Falefa ($4.7 million), Jonathan Loaisiga ($1.65 million), Jordan Montgomery ($6 million), Wandy Peralta ($2.15 million), Jameson Taillon ($5.8 million) and Gleyber Torres ($6.25 million). — Reuters