Aaron Judge Rumors: Yankees Were Willing to Raise $30.5M AAV in Contract Offer

Doric SamApril 14, 2022

NEW YORK, NEW YORK - APRIL 11:  Aaron Judge #99 of the New York Yankees stands in the dugout before the game against the Toronto Blue Jays at Yankee Stadium on April 11, 2022 in the Bronx borough of New York City. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
Elsa/Getty Images

New York Yankees star outfielder Aaron Judge raised some eyebrows when he turned down the team's contract extension offer that would've paid him $30.5 million annually.

But even more perplexing is Judge's negotiation approach after Jon Heyman of the New York Post reported that the Yankees were willing to "slightly raise" the average annual value of the extension. Heyman noted that the team was hoping for Judge to have "shown any inclination to come off his [Mike] Trout-like request, perhaps by a million dollars a year or so."

Trout is the highest-paid outfielder in MLB history with an average salary of $35.54 million.

The Yankees' offer of $213.5 million over seven years to Judge would've made him the second-highest paid among outfielders. But Joel Sherman of the New York Post reported last week that Judge's camp "wondered why he couldn't be paid through the same age (38) that Trout will be by the Angels, and for a similar amount."

Judge is set to turn 30 on April 26. Sherman noted that the Yankees stopped short of giving him a deal similar to Trout's because there are "concerns about Judge staying healthy, concern about how someone his size will age."

Judge has stated publicly that he would like to remain in New York on a long-term deal. By turning down a massive extension and setting himself up to be free to negotiate with 29 other teams next offseason, Judge is betting on himself that he'll be able to command the type of money bestowed on a three-time American League MVP like Trout.

For Judge to prove that, he will have to lead New York to its first World Series trip since its last title win in 2009. The Yankees have a 3-2 record entering Wednesday's game against the Toronto Blue Jays. Judge has yet to hit a home run or record an RBI this season.