Before the start of this baseball season, New York Yankees outfielder Aaron Judge turned down a seven-year contract extension offer from the team for an estimated $30.5 million per year. Judge, who was selected by the Yankees with the 32nd overall pick in the 2013 Major League Baseball Draft out of Fresno State and made his MLB debut in August of 2016, agreed to a salary increase to $21 million in June the day he and the franchise were scheduled for an arbitration hearing.
Judge deciding not to accept the Yankees’ long-term offer, and believing that there would be a much bigger payday ahead is paying off. The 30-year-old hit his league-leading 43rd home run on Monday night at Yankee Stadium against the Seattle Mariners, contributing to the Yankees’ 7-2 win to begin their three game homestand in the Bronx. Judge’s teammates also joined in the power surge.
All-Star catcher Jose Trevino hit two home runs and first baseman Anthony Rizzo began the barrage with a three-run homer in the first inning. Judge’s jack put him 10 ahead of the Philadelphia Phillies Kyle Schwarber’s 33 for tops in MLB and 13 ahead of the Houston Astros Yordan Alvarez’s 30 when the league’s schedule of games began yesterday.
“Judge is doing something that’s beyond special in this day and age of baseball,” said Rizzo on Monday. “It’s fun to be a part of.” Judge, who began the week batting .299 with 93 RBIs, has hit 10 home runs in 12 games since the All-Star break and 13 homers in his last 16 games. He’s on pace to pass Roger Maris’ franchise record 61 homers set in 1961.
After losing to the Mariners 8-6 on Tuesday, the Yankees were 70-35, still holding onto the best record in baseball and an 11-game lead over the second place Toronto Blue Jays in the AL East. They added reinforcement ahead of Tuesday’s MLB trade deadline. The most important moves were picking up outfielder Andrew Benintendi from the Kansas City Royals last week, followed by starter Frankie Montas and closer Lou Trivino being acquired in a deal with the Oakland A’s.
They also parted with starter Jordan Montgomery for outfielder Harrison Bader, getting him from the St. Louis Cardinals. Bader is currently in a walking boot recovering from plantar fasciitis. The Yankees begin a nine-game road trip tomorrow at St. Louis and will also play three versus the Mariners and three against the Boston Red Sox.