Yankees left fielder/center fielder Aaron Judge has had a strong start to this season Credit: MLB.com photo

Yankees outfielder Aaron Judge is indisputably being underpaid this season. He has been the best player in Major League Baseball through June, leading in home runs with 28 and fourth in RBIs with 57 for a team that has the best overall record. The Yankees were 55-20 before facing the Oakland A’s yesterday afternoon in the Bronx in the final game of a three-game series.   

Judge and the Yankees didn’t have to go through with a scheduled arbitration hearing last Friday when the two sides agreed on a one-year, $19 million contract for this season. The Yankees had offered $17 million while Judge was seeking $21 million. The 30-year-old, who was named All MLB First Team last season, will become a free-agent at the conclusion of this season.

Judge can make an additional $250,000 if he’s voted the American League MVP and another $250,000 for being World Series MVP. The way him and the Yankees are playing now, both are strong possibilities. Negotiations for a long-term deal between Judge and the Yankees ceased on Opening Day after Judge rejected the Yankees’ eight-year, $230-plus million dollar offer.

Judge proposed a nine-year deal exceeding $37 million annually, similar to that of Los Angeles Angels outfielder Mike Trout. He and the Yanks have not resumed contract talks.

“That’s for when the season’s done,” said Judge, who added he is satisfied they “were able to agree on a number, and settle this thing and not have to go into court.”

Two days later, Judge’s 10th inning, three-run walk-off home run gave the Yankees a 6-3 win at home on Sunday versus the Houston Astros, giving them a split of a four-game series. They play the Astros again on the road this evening in a make-up game from an early season postponement. The Astros were 46-27, first in the AL West, and had the second best record in the American League behind the Yankees heading into yesterday afternoon’s game in Queens versus the Mets.

After the Astros, the Yankees will have a 10-game road trip through July 10. They begin a three-game series tomorrow against the Cleveland Guardians, then a two-game series with the Pittsburgh Pirates and will take on the Boston Red Sox in four games.

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