New York Yankees

NEW YORK, NEW YORK - OCTOBER 03: Aaron Judge #99 of the New York Yankees celebrates after hitting a walk-off single in the bottom of the ninth inning to beat the Tampa Bay Rays 1-0 at Yankee Stadium on October 03, 2021 in New York City.

On the day the New York Yankees open the 2022 season against the Boston Red Sox, word came down from General Manager Brian Cashman that slugger Aaron Judge could not come to terms on a long-term deal with the Yankees.

According to Jeff Passan of ESPN, the Yankees offered Judge a seven-year, $213 million contract, with $17 million in addition as part of arbitration that would have brought the total salary to $230 million. It would have paid him around $30.5 million a year. It would have been the highest annual average the Yankees have ever given a player.

“Obviously, our intent is to have Aaron Judge stay as a New York Yankee as we move forward, and I know that his intent as well, which is a good thing. We’re going to be entering those efforts in a new arena, which would be at the end of the season when free agency starts, and maybe that will determine what the real market value would be because we certainly couldn’t agree at this stage on a contract extension.”

Judge hit .287 last season with 39 homers and 98 RBI, it was his best offensive output since his rookie year in 2017, when he burst onto the scene with 52 homers and 114 RBI.

The soon-to-be 30-year-old is taking the gamble on himself, which sometimes can work — if the player stays healthy, and sometimes can backfire — just look at ex-Met Michael Conforto who hasn’t signed with anyone up to this point.

If the Yankees let Judge walk and he doesn’t return to the Bronx, is there a chance he ends up in Queens next season? Mets owner Steve Cohen has stated many times he’d be willing to explore all options to improve his ball club.

Other logical spots would be the Dodgers, or Red Sox depending on those teams’ salary cap situations.

For now, Aaron Judge plays the 2022 season without a contract in place, adding more intrigue to the Yankees season.