On Friday, Aaron Judge and the New York Yankees will have an arbitration hearing to set his salary for 2022. Judge intends to join the proceedings via Zoom. The hearing, originally scheduled for Wednesday, has been postponed a few days. In that time, maybe the Yankees will come to their senses and just pay Judge what he's worth.
As of Tuesday evening, Judge had asked for $21 million and Yankees had countered with $17 million. Given what he means to the franchise, and the fact that he's an impending free agent, you'd think New York would want to appease him. But instead the Yankees are haggling over $4 million. Yes, a team with an Opening Day payroll of $236.8 million is worried about $4 million. It's absurd.
Entering Tuesday night, Judge is hitting .301, leads MLB in home runs with 25, has 50 RBIs and an OPS of 1.026. He's currently fourth in baseball with an fWAR of 3.8. Oh, and he's led the Yankees to the best record in baseball by far (50-18). He'll hit free agency in a few months and remains unsigned.
Frankly, the Yankees have mishandled this Judge situation from the start. They should have locked him up last offseason after he hit 39 bombs and posted an OPS of .916. Had they done that, they would have saved themselves a ton of money. After the campaign he's having in 2022 it'll cost a ton to re-sign him. On Opening Day of this season they offered him a seven-year, $213.5 million extension. That was nowhere near enough then and it isn't now.
Haggling with him over a few million in arbitration could serve to poison the well when they attempt to re-sign him this offseason. It's an incredible short-sighted move that could backfire spectacularly.