Yankees owner helped seal Aaron Judge deal
Aaron Judge ended up back with the New York Yankees after flirting with some other teams in free agency. The reigning AL MVP never wanted to leave the Yankees, but he also wanted to get a contract he felt he deserved.
Unlike other situations where deals between team leaders and their franchise fell through (see Freddie Freeman and the Braves), Yankees owner Hal Steinbrenner apparently got involved to make sure the Yankees did not lose their star player.
According to SNY’s Andy Martino, when Judge was in the thick of his decision, the Yankees had offered 8 years for $320 million. Knowing Judge was also talking with the San Diego Padres and San Francisco Giants, Steinbrenner got on the phone with Judge to figure out what it would take to make the MVP stay with the Yankees.
Sources: Last night that Yankees were at 8/$320MM for Judge. They believed SDP was at $400 and Giants would get there. Hal got on phone w/Judge, asked him if he wanted to be a Yankee. Judge said yes but need 9th year.Hal/Judge closed deal.
— Andy Martino (@martinonyc) December 7, 2022
Everything we have read since he agreed to his 9-year, $360 million deal has suggested that Judge always wanted to stay with the Yankees. He just wanted the Yankees to give him a ninth year, and they did that.
The contract will take Judge through his entire 30s and ensure he is extremely well compensated or the rest of his career. The Yankees lost to the Houston Astros in the ALCS for the third time since 2017. There was no way they could afford to lose their best player. Their fans would have rioted, and Hal knew that.