The schedule of New York Yankees' right fielder Aaron Judge’s arbitration hearing is now set. The hearing will be held on Friday, with Judge seeking $21 million as he believes what he is worth. Meanwhile, The Yankees offered him a deal worth $17 million for this season.
"I'm looking forward to it," says Judge, who plans to watch and listen rather than participate in the hearing room as a three-person arbitration panel determines his salary for the 2022 season.
The process will be done via videoconference. It will be hard for Judge because the three-person panel cannot determine his salary by his performance this season, even though the 30-year-old fielder led 25 home runs in the Yankees' first 62 games of the season and surpassed all players in All-Star balloting with 1,512,368 votes which was announced by MLB earlier on Tuesday.
However, there's still a slight chance that a deal can be made prior to the time of the arbitration and eliminate the need to undergo such a process.
Before the game against the Tampa Bay Rays on Tuesday, Judge said it was tough, but he was looking forward to the hearing.
“I've had people in my agency, past players, that went through the process, said they hated it. And then other people that went through it said it was actually kind of good to hear about [yourself]."
Judge said his indifference to Dellin Betances and the Yankees' feud previously in 2017 wasn't a problem for him. Betances lost his case and fell out with the team president Randy Levine.
"[Betances] just didn't like how the process went. ... He gave a lot to this organization, the numbers he put up for quite a few years, even though he wasn't a closer, he did a lot of special things and maybe thought he should get reciprocated for that but it didn't happen," Judge said.
When asked if he was optimistic that a deal could be reached before the hearing, Judge said, “I’ve got no answer for that yet.”
However, Judge reassured that his situation with Yankees hasn’t affected his performance for the team. “I’m motivated by what this team is doing, the special talent and opportunity we have ahead of us. I block the business out.”
As a manager, Aaron Boone said Judge handled the process well, and his popularity and performance have not been affected by it.
"This is obviously a great player, but a guy that's just really good from the neck up, too, as far as handling whatever comes his way through stardom, through being one of the faces of the game, to being a New York Yankee," he said. "Things that happen or inevitably come up, in this case, contract situations and arbitration and all that, he's fully equipped to handle those things and not affect what he does between the lines."
When the MLB season started, Judge expressed frustration at not being able to finalize a long-term contract extension with the Yankees, with whom he has repeatedly expressed his desire to remain in the major league. To avoid free agency, Judge set an Opening Day deadline for signing a contract extension.
However, general manager Brian Cashman said they had offered a seven-year, $213.5 million extension, which would have put Judge at over $230 million if combined with the $17 million they offered in arbitration this season.
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