Astro fans should be clamoring for Judge to get nine years
Fresh off of a season with 62 home runs and an 1.111 OPS, the latest rumors involve Aaron Judge landing a nine-year contract. Jeff Passan reported that Judge already has an eight-year, $300 million contract offer from the Yankees on the table. Jon Morosi is reporting he already has a nine-year deal on the table. If it will take a ninth year to land the slugger, may we see nine-years, $337.5 million?
Houston should be begging for such a deal to transpire. It is a complete win-win that will either handcuff their biggest rival or push their biggest piece away.
New York has had Judge for six seasons (discounting his brief stint in 2016). In those six, they've beaten Houston in October exactly zero times, while being eliminated in three. New York has been unable to construct a roster that can compete with the machine that is the Astros. Now the face of their rivals hits free agency at the perfect time for Houston. New York is stuck.
Surely New York can't let Judge walk, can they? He's as close as one can be to being the Yankee captain without having the title, he's the reigning MVP and he just set the American League single-season home run record. A player like that has to be re-signed.
Judge just had a historic offensive season, yes. He also turns 31 in April and does have a history of injuries, though he has been largely healthy the last two seasons. Long term deals for players on the wrong side of 30 rarely pan out. On top of that, it will likely handcuff whoever signs him. New York would be giving a 39-year-old $37.5 million in year nine of the deal.
And if New York does resign Judge, where do they go next? Between Judge and Gerrit Cole, they'd be allocating $73.5 million a year in two players. They no longer operate the way George Steinbrenner's Yankees did. Bringing back Judge at that price tag likely means they don't land any other big name free agents. We'll believe the Judge and Rodon and Turner fan talk when we see it.
Just remember, they were in on JV too, but balked at a third-year.
The Yankees of old would have given JV five years if it meant a ring.
If the Yankees do pay Judge, they're essentially running back the same core that cannot beat Houston, and in fact, is getting farther and farther away from beating Houston--seven games in 2017, six games in 2019, a sweep in 2022. What's next, they forfeit down 3-0 in 2024?
If they let him walk, they're down a top player in the game and their face of the franchise. They're left to rebuild on the fly under the same regime that acquired Josh Donaldson and IKF as a "stop gap" rather than playing and developing their top prospects in the wings. Meanwhile ours won ALCS MVP on their home turf...
So what do the Yankees do? Do they lock up a 30 year-old with durability issues just to "run it back" when they'd be running back a boat racing on their home field? Or do they let him go and try to reset?
It has been said "the rich get richer." For much of baseball history, the rich was New York. Now...now it's Houston. And in seeing the Yankees backed firmly into a corner, our Astros really do continue to get richer.