For a piece published Thursday afternoon, MLB insider Jon Heyman of the New York Post reported that “there appears to be some real concern within the Yankees’ ranks about their chances to keep Judge” and that those individuals have “just a feeling, and maybe trepidation” regarding the situation.
Judge is set to hit free agency after he rejected a seven-year, $213.5 million contract extension offer from the Yankees before Opening Day. Heyman wrote that the “Yankees expect to be the high bidder — figure they’ll start just north of his original ask of $36 million a year” for Judge’s services.
“They just aren’t sure how badly he wants to stay,” Heyman added.
“Judge has never uttered a negative word about the Yankees but there was a clubhouse sense he had a bitter taste following spring negotiations,” Heyman said. “A source suggested he didn’t see why he should be below Anthony Rendon’s (Los Angeles Angels) annual $35 million pay (as it turned out, he was right), and the $30.5 million a year offer seemed very light to him.”
Eyebrows were raised when Judge seemed to talk about the Yankees in the past tense after they were swept by the Houston Astros in the American League Championship Series. The 30-year-old also said at that time he’d like to remain with the organization moving forward, but that was before a story broke claiming that multiple New York players complained to agents about the supposed “toxic culture” they encountered during home playoff games this fall.
Earlier this week, it was reported the San Francisco Giants “are prepared to spend whatever it takes” to land Judge, who grew up less than 100 miles from where the team’s ballpark. Heyman noted somebody within the Giants called that story “crazy” and “ridiculous.”
Agent Leigh Steinberg doesn’t represent Judge but said this week the four-time All-Star selection could get a guaranteed deal of $500 million over 10 years on the open market. That might be more than the Yankees are willing to spend if numbers shared by Heyman and others are accurate.