One prominent sports agent believes that New York Yankees star slugger and pending free agent Aaron Judge could become the first $500 million man in baseball.
If he doesn’t re-sign with the Yankees, Judge will be the biggest name to enter 2023 free agency. Judge is coming off a historic season in which he belted a AL record 62 homers, breaking the single-season mark set by former Yankee great Roger Maris in 1961.
Leigh Steinberg a powerful agent who has worked with marquee athletes like Patrick Mahomes and Hall of Famers Troy Aikman and Steve Young, told Michael McCarthy of Front Office Sports that he thinks Judge could get $500 million over 10 years on the open market:
“He immediately and dramatically enhances a team’s offensive output. He’s a good team player. And for any team that’s not sold out, he’s an immediate box office draw. So he might be one of the few players who pays for part of his contract in ticket sales.”
Judge turned down a seven-year extension worth $213.5 million, deciding to bet on himself in his contract year. Needless to say, the slugger made the right decision.
Judge hit 62 homers, 131 RBIs and had a .311 batting average. He is also renowned for his strong defensive play, so whichever team signs the 6-foot-7 giant would also be upgrading their production in the outfield as well.
Rumors emerged this week that the Los Angeles Dodgers were considering ignoring Trea Turner’s market and converting Mookie Betts to a second baseman in order to fill their annual offseason superstar hunt with Aaron Judge.
The San Francisco Giants were Judge’s childhood favorite team. According to NJ.com’s Randy Miller, the Giants weren’t at all deterred by the Dodgers’ reported pursuit. Their braintrust is all in on Judge, and will reportedly “outbid the Yankees and everyone else”. Now, the only remaining question is … by how much?
Whatever happens, Judge will break the bank when signs his next contract. This is what happens when a player, fresh off one of the 10 greatest hitting seasons in MLB history, hits the market for the first time in their career.