By noon today, Aaron Judge will have a deal with the Yankees, headlining the players who are arbitration-eligible this season.
The deadline to make a deal is 12 p.m. EST. The question is not whether Judge will make a deal with the Yankees, but how much that deal will turn out to be.
Will this deal be a foreshadowing of what they plan to do before he hits free agency?
Will they look to extend him now as they did with Aaron Hicks and Luis Severino, avoiding arbitration altogether?
Will the soon to be 28-year-old (April) accept an extension now or will he willingly step into free agency when the time comes?
Many other players on the Yankees are due for arbitration, including All-Star catcher, Gary Sanchez. It will be interesting to see if they look at both of these stars and try to extend them now at a home-town price as they did with a homegrown Severino.
Other arbitration-eligible players for the Yankees include James Paxton, Gio Urshela, Chad Green, Luis Cessa, Tommy Kahnle, Jordan Montgomery, and Jonathan Holder; all of whom will certainly be seeking pay increases.
Bryan Hoch, who covers the Yankees for MLB, explains the process:
Players who have three or more years of Major League service, but less than six years of Major League service, become eligible for salary arbitration if they do not already have a contract for the next season.
If the club and player have not agreed on a salary, the club and player must exchange salary figures for the upcoming season. After the figures are exchanged, a hearing is scheduled for February. If no settlement can be reached by the hearing date, the case is brought before a panel of arbitrators.
Usually, the Yankees get deals done, but we can’t forget the last time they made it to an arbitration hearing in 2017 with Dellin Betances. The Yankees defeated Betances and from there, it seems the relationship between him and the team was not quite the same, and it all but came to end when they let him sign with their cross-town rivals in the New York Mets just last month.
The Yankees see Judge, and possibly Sanchez, as part of the new core of this team. If I had to bet, they won’t let those relationships fray, but this is also a business. The interlocking NY comes first, before the player, and Cashman has been known to be cut-throat in the past, telling arguably the most popular Yankee of all time in Derek Jeter to go ahead and sniff out free agency; severing that relationship in half. He called Jeter’s bluff. No one is too big for Brian Cashman.
In the next few hours, we’ll see who comes out on top, who wins, who loses. Someone is bound to be unhappy in the group of players mentioned above.
And if I had to guess, I’m certain the fans hope it’s an unhappy Jonathan Holder before anyone else on that list.