The Texas Rangers Will Try To Sign Aaron Judge This Offseason
If you thought the Aaron Judge home run chase this year was overbearing, you aren't ready for the Aaron Judge Free Agency Sweepstakes about to take off.
The New York Yankees all star slugger is set to become a free agent this year, and test the incredibly expensive MLB market. He could be on the verge of the largest contract in baseball history...maybe even the biggest in sports history. Which could be given to him from the Texas Rangers, a franchise who has given out mega contracts before.
Currently, the Rangers have their biggest contract in franchise history active. This past offseason, they signed Corey Seager to a franchise record $325 million deal. But they also doubled down in free agency last year, signing Marcus Semien to a $175 million as well.
In the Rangers history, they have handed out the first ever 10-year MLB contract (Richie Zisk in 1978), the biggest contract in baseball history with Alex Rodriguez's 2001 contract, and the largest posting fee for a Japanese player in history with a $51.7 million fee to sign Yu Darvish. Again, they're not a franchise afraid of making waves with free agent signings.
Enter the Aaron Judge bidding war.
Sports Illustrated and The Athletic have reported that the Rangers will be one of the top teams to pursue Aaron Judge this offseason. A bidding war that will include the Yankees, New York Mets, San Francisco Giants, Los Angeles Dodgers, Boston Red Sox, and maybe even the Philadelphia Phillies. These are all teams that have spent crazy money before, and will do it again.
Prior to the start of the 2022 season, the one where he hit 62 home runs and 131 RBIs, Judge turned down an 8 year and $230.5 million contract from the Yankees. So if that wasn't enough before a record-setting season, what kind of contract could Judge secure now?
Right now, Mike Trout has the highest total guaranteed contract, as well as the highest average annual value, for position players. His total contract is worth $426.5 million, and an average of $35.54 million per year. Max Scherzer has the highest average annual salary in all of baseball, at $43.33 million a year.
So if the highest annual salary is between $35 million and $44 million, its not unreal that he could end up with something in that range. The length of the contract could be shorter than many of these mega deals. Judge will turn 31 during the next season, so he would be roughly 41 at the end of a 10-year-deal. That wouldn't make much sense for some of these teams.
But if the contract is a shorter term, but the total number needs to be high, his annual pay could reach record status, while the whole contract doesn't. If he signs for $44 million a season (a record amount) but only for 6 years, the total contract would be around $264 million. That total value would fall short of record status, while still having a record annual number. This could be a strong possibility for someone like Judge in his current situation.