The New York Yankees have reportedly reached a settlement on a contract with Aaron Judge for the 2022 season, avoiding arbitration, sources confirmed to the New York Post's Jon Heyman on Friday (June 24).
Sources told Heyman that the Judge will be paid $19 million plus additional incentives, including $250,000 for winning the American League MVP and another $250,000 for winning the World Series MVP.
Judge is currently the frontrunner to win the AL MVP with an MLB best 27 home runs, as well as a .304 batting average and 53 RBI. The Yankees are currently 52-18 through their first 70 games, holding the MLB's best record and a 12.5-game lead in the American League East standings.
The reported deal comes hours after Judge hit a game-winning RBI single to cap off the Yankees' 7-6 come-from-behind victory against the Houston Astros on Thursday (June 23) night at Yankee Stadium, the latest in a career season for the former AL Rookie of the Year.
Judge is set to be a free agent next offseason after declining a massive contract extension offer from the team ahead of his self-imposed deadline for Opening Day in April, Yankees general manager Brian Cashman said at the time via ESPN.
Cashman said the Yankees offered the All-Star a seven-year, $213.5 million extension, which would've been paired with the $17 million offered in arbitration for the 2022 season to total more than $230 million.
"We were unsuccessful in concluding a multiyear pact," Cashman said on April 8. "Obviously, our intent is to have Aaron Judge stay as a New York Yankee as we move forward, and I know that is his intent as well, which is a good thing. We're going to be entering those efforts in a new arena, which would be at the end of the season when free agency starts, and maybe that will determine what the real market value would be, because we certainly couldn't agree at this stage on a contract extension."
Judge hit for a career-best .287 average, as well as 39 home runs and 98 RBI, in 2021, all of which he's currently projected to exceed in 2022.
“I don’t mind going to free agency,” Judge said in April via the Post. “At the end of the year, I’m a free agent. I can talk to 30 teams, and the Yankees will be one of those 30 teams. It’s always nice to try to wrap something up, the sooner the better. But we weren’t able to get it done. Now it’s on to baseball.”