Following a loss to the world-series champions Astros in the ALDS, the Mariners look poised to make a free-agency splash to supplement the team’s young and rising core. With a 1-4 rotation of Castillo, Kirby, Ray, and Gilbert all locked up through 2026 (barring an opt-out by Ray following the 2024 season), the Mariners’ main concern in free agency should be adding a bat to anchor their order and multi-year competitive window. Enter Aaron Judge.
Fresh off a league-leading 10.6 fWAR season slashing .311/.425/.686 for a staggering 1.111 OPS and 211 OPS+, Aaron Judge appears in line to receive a lucrative contract.
Here’s how the Mariners could get Aaron Judge
While the Mariners will have to beat out a number of large-market suitors, the team’s massive increase in attendance and fan interest during the 2022 season, along with the recent Castillo and Julio extensions show that ownership should have money to spend and is ready to supplement the squad going into next year.
So, what does an Aaron Judge contract look like for the Mariners fresh off such a historical year? At age 30, Judge is likely to command a deal in the 7–10-year range, essentially locking him up for the rest of his career. While the AAV may fluctuate depending on the number of years a team is willing to give him, the total contract most likely starts in the $300 million range.
To give an estimate, a Mariners-Judge union could be in the $316 million over an 8-year range. Paying Aaron Judge $39.5 million a year through his age 38 season is a huge financial commitment, but not so jarring when you break down the deal. Assuming the $8/WAR metric often used in free agency, Judge will have to produce 39.5 WAR in 8 years, or rather just under an average of a 5-war season (4.94).
If Aaron Judge can stay at near MVP level through at least the next 4 seasons, not only will he raise the ceiling of the Mariner’s championship window, but he also has the chance to make the deal worthwhile for the team regardless of late-age regression.
This wouldn’t be the first time the Mariners swooped in and stole a Yankees homegrown star. It would be an incredible addition for Seattle, and quite possibly be the move that puts them into the World Series for the first time in team history.