If New York Yankees outfielder Aaron Judge remains on his current trajectory this season, he reportedly may be playing his way toward a $300 million contract.
Appearing Friday on The Rich Eisen Show, ESPN MLB insider Jeff Passan discussed Judge's contract situation ahead of hitting free agency at the conclusion of the 2022 campaign:
Beginning at the 2:50 mark of the video, Passan said: "If Aaron Judge stays healthy, that's headed for a contract that starts with a three."
Judge and the Yankees were unable to come to terms on a new contract before the start of the 2021 season, and at the time, Judge said he did not intend to hold contract talks during the season.
Passan noted that the Yankees could have signed him to an extension worth $230 million over eight years, including 2021, but they took a chance by exercising a wait-and-see approach.
Now, Judge stands to make far more, given that he is perhaps the American League MVP front-runner in the early going.
Entering play Friday, the 30-year-old veteran leads Major League Baseball with 14 home runs, plus he is slashing .307/.381/.664 with 30 RBI and 32 runs scored.
On the strength of Judge's play, the Yankees are the best team in baseball so far this season with a 28-10 record.
When healthy, Judge has been a force throughout his seven-year MLB career with three All-Star selections, two Silver Slugger Awards, an American League Rookie of the Year Award and a second-place finish in the 2017 AL MVP voting when he hit career-high 52 homers.
Durability has been an issue at times, though, as he was limited to 112 games in 2018 and 102 games in 2019. He also appeared in only 28 of 60 games during the COVID-shortened 2020 campaign.
Last season was Judge's healthiest year since 2017, as he appeared in 148 games and finished with 39 home runs and 98 RBI.
Judge is on pace to surpass those marks this season, and if he does, he is in line to land a monster contract from the Yanks or another team.
Passan named the New York Mets, San Francisco Giants and Chicago Cubs as big-market teams that could pursue Judge, but he noted that if the Yankees are willing to pay him the most or close to the most money, he expects Judge to remain in pinstripes.