New York Yankees slugger Aaron Judge was prepared to enter arbitration with the Yankees organization over his 2022 salary. Judge wanted $21 million, the Yankees $17 million.
The two sides settled at $19 million and avoided an uncomfortable situation.
“We were logged in and ready to go,” Judge said, according to NJ.com. “All dressed up. I think we got it done at like 12:45. I knew it would work out one way or the other. I really wasn’t too concerned about what it was going to be and I was happy we were able to agree on a number and settle this thing and not have to go into court.”
Now, Judge and the Yankees can focus on improving on their 52-19 record, the best record in baseball.
“Oh, definitely,” Judge said when asked if he was relieved it was over. “Get back to focusing on baseball games and trying to bring a championship back here to New York. I’m glad we were able to get through that process. Took a little longer than expected.”
“You wonder when you’re going through it why, but I didn’t ask,” Judge said Friday night. “I didn’t feel the need. It’s a business. They’ve got the things they’re doing on their side running numbers and stuff like that. We’re doing the same thing. I’m just thankful to get past it, get it done and go back to focusing on winning some games here.”
The $19 million for the 2022 season could increase based on incentives, with Judge making an additional $250,000 if he wins the American League MVP, and another $250,000 if he is selected as World Series MVP.
The 30-year-old slugger is in the midst of arguably his best season as a pro, hitting .299 at the plate with 27 home runs and 53 RBI’s. Judge is on pace to hit 60 home runs this year.
Judge, who turned down a seven-year, $215.5 million extension in the offseason, said that avoiding arbitration did not make him any more confident that he would sign a new deal with the Yankees after the season.
“No,” Judge said. “We got this one done. I was happy about that.”
New York lost to the Houston Astros 3-1 Friday night, getting just four hits off of Houston ace Justin Verlander.
“I thought the fastball was really good,” Verlander said, according to The Associated Press. “I thought the slider was kind of hit and miss, and the curveball got me some big outs when I needed it.”
The Yankees and Astros continue their four-game series Saturday afternoon at 1:05 p.m. ET.