Aaron Judge and the New York Yankees avoided an arbitration hearing Friday by agreeing to a $19 million, one-year contract, a deal that leaves the slugger on track to become a free agent after the World Series.
Unable to agree to a long-term deal in talks that ended on opening day, the sides split the difference between the proposed arbitration figures they exchanged on March 22: $21 million by Judge and $17 million by the Yankees.
Judge can make an additional $500,000 in award bonuses: $250,000 for MVP and $250,000 for World Series MVP.
“Excited that that’s behind us and we can leave that portion of the show alone,” Yankees manager Aaron Boone said before New York lost, 3-1, to Houston, ending its 15-game home winning streak.
Telephone talks resumed this week, and the sides reached the deal just before they were to exchange written evidence they intended to present during a Zoom hearing.
The slugging outfielder is in the midst of perhaps his best season, batting .304 with a major league-leading 27 homers and 53 RBIs in 68 games. On track for his fourth All-Star selection in seven big league seasons, he hit a game-winning single during Thursday night’s 7-6 come-from-behind victory over defending American League champion Houston.
Judge has helped power the Yankees to a major league-best 52-19 record, New York’s best through 71 games since 1939 and the best among all big league teams since the 2001 Seattle Mariners. He also has shifted from right field to become the Yankees’ primary center fielder.
No statistics or evidence from after March 1 were admissible other than contract and salary comparisons, timing set when Major League Baseball and the players’ association agreed to the deal that ended the lockout. Judge batted .287 with 39 homers and 98 RBIs last season.
Justin Verlander (9-3) pitched four-hit ball over seven innings against them Friday, and Kyle Tucker hit a three-run homer. Judge went 0 for 4 as New York lost for just the fourth time in its last 23 games overall. New York got its run in the sixth when Giancarlo Stanton hit an opposite-field drive into the right field second deck for the second night in a row, his 16th home run this season.
Emotions overtake Freddie Freeman in return to Atlanta
At the end of a night that included a lot of tears, Freddie Freeman was happy because he felt good about showing his appreciation to Atlanta fans — and playing well for his new Los Angeles team.
Trea Turner had three hits, including a home run, Freeman reached base three times in his return to Atlanta, and the Dodgers beat the Braves, 4-1, in a rematch of the past two NL Championship Series.
“I’m exhausted, emotionally exhausted, but what a wonderful evening for my family,” Freeman said.
Dodgers reliever Daniel Hudson exited in the eighth with what manager Dave Roberts said is a season-ending left knee injury. Roberts said Hudson tore his anterior cruciate ligament. Hudson, who has five saves and a 2.22 ERA, fell to the ground while attempting to react to a dribbler hit by Ronald Acuña Jr., who reached on the infield hit.
Freeman received standing ovations from the sellout crowd of 42,105 before the game and before his first at-bat. The longtime Braves star had one hit, a sixth-inning single. He walked twice and scored two runs.
“It’s hard to describe how I felt in that moment,” said Freeman, who also was presented his 2021 World Series ring by Braves manager Brian Snitker in a pregame ceremony. “Just a lot of love.”
Max Scherzer won’t pitch for Mets on Sunday
New York Mets righthander Max Scherzer will not be activated from the injured list and start the final game of the club’s series against the Miami Marlins Sunday.
“Nobody ever said he was,” Mets manager Buck Showalter said before Friday’s 5-3 Mets victory, in which Francisco Lindor homered, doubled, and drove in four runs. “He was projected because of where he was. Talking to Max and talking to everybody, he’s making the progress he should be. Not where he needs to be. He’s getting closer.”
The three-time Cy Young Award winner has been sidelined since May 19 because of an oblique strain. The 37-year-old Scherzer, who signed a three-year, $130 million free agent deal with the Mets in the offseason, was 5-1 with a 2.54 ERA in eight starts before going on the injured list.
Scherzer made a rehab start at Double-A Binghamton on Tuesday, throwing 65 pitches in 3⅓ innings. He allowed two runs, three hits, walked one, and struck out six, then traveled with the Mets to Miami and worked out at Mark Light Field on the University of Miami campus Thursday.
“He still might pitch Sunday for somebody, but it won’t be us,” Showalter said. “We’ll see how feels the next day or two to decide what happens next.”
Lefthander David Peterson will start against the Marlins on Sunday, Showalter said.
Mark Canha also went deep Friday, and Taijuan Walker pitched six-plus innings of three-run ball for the NL East leaders.
Blue Jays win in Milwaukee
Alejandro Kirk went 4 for 4 and homered for the third straight game before leaving with a bruised left hand in the seventh inning of Toronto’s 9-4 victory over Milwaukee. Kirk appeared to get hit in the hand on a backswing from Jonathan Davis in the seventh. The catcher remained in the game for the rest of that at-bat before leaving at the same time the Blue Jays made a pitching change. The Jays grabbed an early 5-0 lead by opening the second inning with six straight hits against Adrian Houser (4-8) despite being without hitting coach Guillermo Martínez, who was suspended for five games and fined by Major League Baseball earlier in the day for making contact with umpire Doug Eddings before Wednesday’s game at the Chicago White Sox. Eddings called more than two dozen pitches outside the zone strikes in Tuesday’s game between the teams . . . Harold Ramirez scored Vidal Brujan with a game-ending pinch-single, lifting the Tampa Bay Rays over the Pittsburgh Pirates, 4-3. Brujan took second as Tampa Bay’s automatic runner and stole third against Yerry De Los Santos (0-1) before Ramirez’s hit. Three home runs had pulled the Pirates back from a 3-0 deficit, but they couldn’t score in the 10th despite an infield single by Hoy Park . . . Royals catcher Salvador Perez had surgery on his left thumb and was placed on the 10-day injured list. The operation repaired the ulnar collateral ligament in the seven-time All-Star’s thumb, and he’s expected to need eight weeks to recover, manager Mike Matheny said.