One prominent sports agent believe that New York Yankees 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. The 30-year-old is coming off a historic season in which he clubbed 62 homers, breaking the single-season AL record set by former Yankee great Roger Maris in 1961.
Leigh Steinberg — a well-known and 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 can 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 lucrative seven-year extension worth a whopping $213.5 million, deciding to bet on himself in his contract year. Needless to say, the four-time All-Star made the right decision from a financial standpoint.
Aside from his 62 homers, Judge also set career bests in RBI (131), runs (133), batting average (.311), slugging percentage (.686) and OPS (1.111). His efforts helped New York win the AL East for the first time since 2019, but they were ousted by the rival Houston Astros in a four-game sweep in the ALCS.
Judge 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.
The Yankees have a long and successful history in retaining their key players ahead of free agency. And of course, they have all the financial resources available to make Judge the highest-paid player in MLB history.
But whether or not ownership is willing to do that, and whether or not Judge is actually keen on staying in The Bronx, remains to be seen. For now, Judge’s future is a guessing game.