The New York Yankees won't have to disparage Aaron Judge to his face after all. The team and Judge settled their arbitration dispute Friday, hours before the two sides were set for a hearing.
That's a significant development for the Yankees and Judge, who could not agree on a salary prior to the start of the 2022 MLB season. Under Judge's new agreement, he'll make $19 million in 2022, but can make more if he hits certain incentives.
In a surprising development, Aaron Judge and the Yankees agreed to a $19 million deal (plus incentives) for 2022 to avoid arbitration, per source. @JonHeyman was first to report a deal had been made.
— Mark Feinsand (@Feinsand) June 24, 2022
Judge can make an additional $250,000 if he wins the American League MVP award. Judge leads all AL players with 27 home runs. He's tied with Rafael Devers in fWAR at 4.0. Judge can also make $250,000 if he wins the World Series MVP.
Aaron Judge declined long-term deal from Yankees in spring
The agreement comes at a critical time for the Yankees. The two sides were at a crossroads after Judge declined a seven-year, $213.5 million offer from the Yankees during spring training. Judge, who will be a free agent after the 2022 MLB season, decided to bet on himself, and that looks like a fantastic decision. Judge is hitting .304/.379/.658, with 27 home runs, through 68 games. He stands to receive massive contract offers if he can keep that up the rest of the season.
The deal also comes hours before the Yankees and Judge were set to meet in front of an arbitration judge to determine Judge's 2022 salary. Those meetings can get contentious, as teams have to bad mouth their own player to justify offering them a lower salary. Had the Yankees and Judge proceeded with that meeting, it may have ruined their relationship, ensuring Judge would not re-sign with the Yankees at the end of the season.
Judge still may decide to leave New York at the end of the year, but Friday's agreement leaves some hope that the two sides can still work together after Judge declined the team's long-term offer in the spring.