No (Arb) Hearing for the Judge!
The Yankees and Judge avoided arbitration and settled on a $19 Million (+incentives) 2022 contract. Details inside!
When a baseball player makes it to the big leagues, both their rookie and MLB service time clock starts ticking. A player will reach their rookie eligibility if they reach 130 at-bats (batters), 50 innings pitched (pitchers), or they have been a part of the active roster- not counting time on the IL or after September call-ups- for 45 days.
Once a player reaches their rookie eligibility, their service time clock starts. From then on their team will have three years/seasons of pre-arbitration control before an additional three years of arbitration-based control.
For those first three seasons of pre-arbitration control, the team can decide what they want to play their players as long as it it above the league minimum. Currently, the league minimum is $700,000 and is going to increase to $780,000 for the 2026 season. Additionally, during this time the team can- and pretty much always do- give raises to their "pre-arb" players based on performance, awards won, etc.
After those three "pre-arb" years, the player will get some considerable pay raises over the next three years during arbitration. For these years, the player earns some power as they can accept or decline a contract offer from their team. These contracts work on a year-by-year growth system where salaries will get higher the further along in arbitration a player is. Often times, a player entering their first year of arbitration will often get between $2-5 million, for arbitration two between $5-10 million, and arbitration three between $10-20 million.
(Note: There is a 4th year of arbitration for players under a "Super Two" system, but in the case for Judge this is irrelevant.)
If a player declines a teams contract offer and they decide to go into an arbitration hearing, they then have to file for a salary they deem worthy and be able to defend it in front of a 3-party panel: one team representative, one players representative, and one impartial third party. That panel will decide who wins and that player will be assigned that salary figure. That is where we are at for Aaron Judge.
The Yankees filed for a $17 Million salary for 2022. Aaron Judge declined the offer and is going to hearing for a $21 Million salary.
(Note: Teams and players can still negotiate between the time of filing and the official hearings. However, at the time of the hearing, the original offers from both sides are the only one considered.)
For reference, here were Aaron Judge's salaries by year:
2017 - $544,500 (Pre-Arb 1)
2018 - $622,300 (Pre-Arb 2)
2019 - $684,300 (Pre-Arb 3)
2020 - $3,148,148 (Arbitration 1)
2021 - $10,175,000 (Arbitration 2)
2022 - To be decided
(Note: MLB league minimum salary when Aaron Judge entered the league was $535,000.)
Aaron Judge and the New York Yankees are meeting at 12:00 PM today (June 24th, 2022) for his arbitration-3 hearing.
Keep in mind:
When news becomes available, we will update this post.
Update 1: According to Buster Onley (ESPN), the Yankees have recently proposed a settlement of $19 million for a 2022 contract with Aaron Judge, but he has declined the offer.
Update 2: According to Jon Heyman (NY Post), the Yankees and Aaron Judge have settled on a contract for the 2022 season. No hearing will be had. Figure yet to be announced.
Update 3: According to Mark Feinsand (MLB), the Yankees and Aaron Judge have agreed on a $19 million figure with incentives. Waiting on details.
Update 4: Also coming from Mark Feinsand (MLB), Aaron Judge can earn an additional $250,000 for a 1st place AL MVP finish and another $250,000 for winning the World Series MVP.