Don't expect Aaron Judge to leave New York as a free agent this coming offseason.
"I do think that when it's all said and done Aaron Judge will end up a New York Yankee. ... Aaron Judge is the closest thing that the New York Yankees have had to Derek Jeter," ESPN's Jeff Passan said on the Pat McAfee Show on Wednesday. "He's the captain, he's the leader in the clubhouse, he's extremely well-regarded by his teammates, by the coaching staff, by management. Everybody loves Aaron Judge. So the idea that he's going to be wearing another uniform, it just seems hard to fathom. But look, money talks."
Pat McAfee @PatMcAfeeShow
"I do think that when it's all said & done Aaron Judge will end up staying with the New York Yankees" ~<a href="https://twitter.com/JeffPassan?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@JeffPassan</a><a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/PMSLive?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#PMSLive</a> <a href="https://t.co/OipuSG9LYO">pic.twitter.com/OipuSG9LYO</a>
Passan added that he believes Judge will sign a contract this winter that exceeds $300 million in total money after the Yankees offered him a deal worth $213 million this past offseason.
Judge, 30, has definitely increased his value this season. The slugger is hitting .296 with an MLB-leading 51 homers, 113 RBI, 104 runs and 1.064 OPS. He is one of the favorites to be named American League MVP, battling reigning MVP Shohei Ohtani, who has been excellent as both a hitter and pitcher this season.
ESPN Stats & Info @ESPNStatsInfo
It's September 1st and Aaron Judge has 15 more home runs than any other player (Kyle Schwarber).<br><br>Judge joins Babe Ruth (5x) as the only players ever to enter September with a lead of at least 15 HR.<br><br>h/t <a href="https://twitter.com/EliasSports?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@EliasSports</a> <a href="https://t.co/hUl1RWU7Dx">pic.twitter.com/hUl1RWU7Dx</a>
Michael Kay @RealMichaelKay
I’ve been covering baseball for 36 years and the season <a href="https://twitter.com/TheJudge44?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@TheJudge44</a> is having is one of the best I’ve ever seen. Take hm off the <a href="https://twitter.com/Yankees?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@yankees</a> and they’d have trouble making playoffs. Take Ohtani off <a href="https://twitter.com/Angels?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@Angels</a> and they still would be on the outside looking in. Most valuable?
Rhett Bollinger @RhettBollinger
Shohei Ohtani on the MVP race with Aaron Judge: <br>"It definitely leads to motivation to do better and try to go for that hardware. It's something I think about. But for the most part, I take it game by game and at-bat by at-bat. At the end of the day, we'll count it all up."
The 2017 AL Rookie of the Year and four-time All-Star has been one of the biggest reasons why the Yankees (79-52) lead the loaded AL East by six games.
"I’ve never seen anything like it," Judge's teammate Jameson Taillon told reporters on Tuesday regarding the slugger's epic season after he hit his 51st dinger. "It feels like any time he's up, there's a chance for him to do something special. It doesn't matter what scouting report you have or if you execute your pitch, he's so good he can still hit it out all over the park."
That will obviously make Judge an extremely in-demand player come this offseason and should drive his price up substantially. The ability to hit the ball out of the park is one of the most valuable in baseball, and Judge has done it 209 times in 699 career games, all while maintaining an impressive .388 on-base percentage.
There are plenty of all-or-nothing sluggers in baseball, who either seem to strike out or hit the ball over the fence. Yankees fans are plenty familiar with that type of player after Joey Gallo's ill-fated tenure with the team.
Judge isn't that player. He'll be paid as such, likely by the Yankees.