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Report: Hal Steinbrenner, Aaron Judge Finalized 9-Year, $360M Yankees Contract

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured Columnist IVDecember 7, 2022

Hal Steinbrenner, Chairman and Managing General Partner of Yankee Global Enterprises looks on at retired New York Yankee Paul O'Neill's number retirement ceremony before a baseball game between the New York Yankees and the Toronto Blue Jays, Sunday, Aug. 21, 2022, in New York. (AP Photo/Corey Sipkin)
AP Photo/Corey Sipkin

New York Yankees chairperson Hal Steinbrenner helped seal the deal for Aaron Judge's return to the Big Apple.

According to SNY's Andy Martino, Steinbrenner reached out to the star slugger with negotiations entering the final stages and acquiesced when the American League Most Valuable Player requested a ninth year in the Yankees' offer.

Andy Martino @martinonyc

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.

This is a narrative that plays to everyone's benefit.

The Yankees had a top-three Opening Day payroll in each of the last four seasons, but the 13-year gap since their last World Series title has brought continued scrutiny on ownership and the front office.

If Judge had signed with another team, it would've furthered the perception that the Steinbrenner family was less concerned with on-field results as long as the money keeps rolling in.

Now, Steinbrenner can point to Judge's deal, and his personal role in making it happen, as a sign of his ambition.

Judge, meanwhile, affirmed his commitment to the franchise. Not only did he re-sign, but he also left money on the table by doing so. According to USA Today's Bob Nightengale, the San Diego Padres swooped in at the eleventh hour with a 10-year, $400 million offer.

Had money been Judge's primary motivator, he would be calling San Diego home right now.

Instead, it appears New York was his preferred destination all along and that it was only a matter of the Bronx Bombers' willingness to pony up.