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Aaron Judge: ‘I Want to Be a Yankee for Life’

The Yankees slugger is set to be a free agent after the 2022 season.

Shortly after Yankees’ manager Aaron Boone discussed his future on Tuesday night, a different Aaron did the same.

“I want to be a Yankee for life,” Aaron Judge said following New York’s 6-2 Wild Card loss to Boston. “I want to wear these pinstripes for the rest of my career and represent this great organization and bring a championship back to the city.”

Judge is entering his final year of arbitration and is scheduled to be a free agent after the 2022 season. He was asked about his future in New York in the context of Mookie Betts, another supremely talented outfielder. The Red Sox traded Betts to the Dodgers in February 2020 after the two sides failed to reach an extension.

Prior to that trade, Betts had spent his entire career in Boston. Judge has played all six of his seasons with the Yankees, who drafted him 32nd overall in 2013.

“I guess you could say that,” Judge responded when asked if this offseason is crucial in determining whether he remains a Yankee long-term.

Judge will be 30 next season and has an extensive injury history, but he stayed healthy this season while putting up his best numbers since his Rookie of the Year, MVP-runner-up campaign in 2017. He’s owed a sizeable raise in arbitration after making $10.175 million in 2021.

It’s unclear if the Yankees will try to get an extension done before that, or at least before he hits the open market. It’s hard to imagine such a deal would cost less than $200 million. New York is already committed to massive contracts for Giancarlo Stanton and Gerrit Cole, and the team could spend big on one of the many star shortstops available in free agency this offseason.

The expiring CBA could also complicate matters—not just for Judge, but the entire sport.

Like so much else in baseball and with the Yankees, Judge knows there is uncertainty ahead.

"You never know what the future holds for you," he said. "That's kind of out of my hands. All I can really do is continue to show up here and continue to try and lead these guys and give all I can for this team and this city every single day. Whatever happens on the flip side of that with contracts, this and that, getting traded, it's out of my control."


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