New York Yankees' Aaron Judge stands in the dugout after his solo home run during the first inning in the second baseball game of the team's doubleheader against the Texas Rangers in Arlington, Texas, Tuesday, Oct. 4, 2022. With the home run, Judge set the AL record for home runs in a season at 62, passing Roger Maris. (AP Photo/LM Otero)

All Rise: Yankees re-sign Judge

The New York Yankees made a splash in free agency on Wednesday, re-signing Aaron Judge to a long-term deal after the AL MVP tested the waters in free agency. The Bronx Bombers re-signed the 30-year-old outfielder to a nine-year, $360 million deal, giving him the highest annual salary for any position player in MLB history ($40 million.)

The deal comes after rumors circulated Tuesday night that the San Francisco Giants had signed Judge, who along with San Diego had expressed interest in the outfielder. New York initially made an undisclosed offer to Judge in November.

Additionally, reports indicate Judge turned down larger offers, included a 10-year, $400 million offer from San Diego, per USA Today’s Bob Nightengale.

Aaron Judge: bet made, record breaks

With one year left on his contract entering the 2022 season, the Yankees offered Judge a seven-year, $213 million extension following the conclusion of Spring Training in March. Judge declined the offer, betting on himself for what could have been his final season in pinstripes.

That bet cashed in massively for the outfielder.

His seventh season in the league was not only his personal best but one of the best in MLB history. Judge hit an AL record 62 homeruns, breaking Roger Maris’ record that stood for 61 years. Additionally, Judge had a career-best .311 batting average while leading the league in WAR (10.6), on-base percentage (.425) and slugging percentage (.686).

Judge won his first AL MVP and was an All-Star for the fourth time in his career for his play, while being named to the All-MLB First Team. Additionally, Judge became the first Yankee since Derek Jeter in 2009 to win the Hank Aaron Award, which is given to the best offensive player in each league.

With his return to New York, the accolades may not be over for Judge. The Yankees may officially name Judge captain, their first since the team named Jeter captain in 2003. The Hall of Famer continued in the role until his retirement in 2014.

Cards get Contreras, Cubs making moves

The Yankees were not the only team to make moves in free agency.

St. Louis made a splash in free agency and found Yadier Molina’s replacement by signing catcher Willson Contreras to a five-year, $87.5 million deal. A three-time All-Star, Contreras joins the Cardinals after spending the last 14 years in the Chicago Cubs’ organization, including the last seven at the major league level. Chicago called up Contreras during the 2016 season, where the Cubs won their first World Series since 1908.

Despite losing Contreras, the Cubs made a pair of free agency signings on Tuesday and Wednesday. On Tuesday, Jordan Bastian of reported outfielder Cody Bellinger agreed to a one-year, $17.5 deal. Early Wednesday morning, the Cubs reportedly signed former Yankees starting pitcher Jameson Taillon to a four-year, $68 million deal.

Additionally, two more pitchers found new homes. The Boston Red Sox signed closer Kenley Jansen to a two-year, $32 million deal, while the New York Mets signed Jose Quintana to a two-year, $26 million deal.

About Cam Parker

Cam is a fourth-year broadcast journalism sports and media major at the University of Florida. In addition to writing and recording radio trendings for WRUF, Cam covers North Florida HS football for The Prep Zone and Mainstreet Daily News and UF football and basketball for Inside the Gators.

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