All Nine Arbitration-Eligible Yankees Agree to Deals

Max Goodman

The Yankees agreed to contracts with all nine of the club's arbitration-eligible players on Friday. 

The following Bronx Bombers settled on one-year, non-guaranteed contracts: outfielder Aaron Judge, backstop Gary Sánchez, third baseman Gio Urshela, as well as hurlers Luis Cessa, Chad Green, Jonathan Holder, Tommy Kahnle, Jordan Montgomery and James Paxton.

The deals were made official by New York several hours after Friday's 1:00 p.m. ET deadline for arbitration-eligible players and their clubs to exchange salary figures. 

Although the Yankees have yet to make all negotiated salaries official, various sources have confirmed earnings for several players.

Paxton agreed to a $12.5 million deal, the most among the nine new contracts, while Judge and Sánchez are set to earn $8.5 million and $5 million in 2020 respectively. The only other seven-figure deals went to Kahnle ($2.65 million) and Urshela ($2.475 million).

For some, these new figures are considerable pay raises in relation to their 2019 salaries. For Judge, who hadn't made more than $700,000 in a single season in his big-league career, increased his earnings by north of 1,000 percent.

Judge, who turns 28 in April, had a 5.4 WAR and hit 27 home runs in 102 games this past season. He led the Yankees in 2019 with a .381 OBP, .540 SLG, .921 OPS and 142 OPS+.

Let's not forget his historic rookie season in 2017 in which the 6-foot-7 right fielder crushed 52 homers and was awarded American League Rookie of the Year -- the best single-season by a right fielder in pinstripes in the 2010s.

Similar to a few of the other ballplayers who inked new deals on Friday, Judge is still a candidate for an extension. Despite the one-year contracts to avoid arbitration in the short term, lengthier deals can be agreed upon moving forward this offseason.

Sánchez, who made $669,800 in 2019, also received a hefty salary boost. The Yankees' backstop, who led all Major League catchers with 34 home runs in 2019, is set to serve as New York's primary option behind the dish. He posted a .232 average, .841 OPS and 3.1 WAR en route to his second-career All-Star Game appearance. 

Urshela was also recognized for his performance in 2019 -- a breakout campaign in which the 28-year-old exceeded all expectations while filling in for an injured Miguel Andújar. The Yankee third baseman hit .314 over 132 games this past season, leading the Bombers with 34 doubles. He'll receive a well-deserved pay raise in 2020. 

As for Paxton, the left-hander added more than $3 million in earnings under his new one-year deal. The southpaw had a tremendous year in 2019, both statistically and in big games. Over a career-high 29 games started, Paxton led the team with 186 strikeouts while posting a rotation-best 3.82 ERA.

Hurlers Cessa, Green, Holder and Montgomery -- who all made less than $600,000 in 2019 -- will receive pay raises as well. 

The Yankees weren't the only team to agree to several contracts on Friday -- other big-league clubs settled on deals with franchise players. Francisco Lindor, Kris Bryant, Noah Syndergaard, Cody Bellinger and Mookie Betts all agreed to multi-million dollar contracts. Division-rival Betts' deal, worth $27 million, set the record for the largest deal ever in an arbitration-eligible season.

Curious about the criteria under Friday's deadline? 

In order to be eligible for arbitration, players must have at least three -- but less than six years -- of MLB service, with no contract for the next season. 

Around the league, stars including Josh Hader, J.T. Realmuto, George Springer, Max Muncy and Trevor Story failed to settle on new deals with their respective clubs. They'll need to go to arbitration hearings later this offseason.

The last time New York was in an arbitration hearing was 2017, when the Yankees defeated Dellin Betances. Prior to then, the club was victorious over right-hander Chien-Ming Wang in 2008.

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