Yankees Brian Cashman won’t say whether team has engaged in contract talks with Aaron judge

New York Yankees center fielder Aaron Judge celebrates in the locker room after the Yankees defeated the Cleveland Guardians in Game 5 of an American League Division baseball series, Tuesday, Oct. 18, 2022, in New York.
AP Photo/John Minchillo

Brian Cashman wouldn’t say if the Yankees had any conversations with superstar slugger Aaron Judge about a new contract, but both he and manager Aaron Boone reiterated that they wanted to see Judge remain in the Bronx. 

Judge will become a free agent this offseason and it remains unknown if he will re-sign with the Yankees or take his talents elsewhere. The superstar can begin talking with teams six days after the World Series ends, which has given New York some exclusivity to negotiate with Judge before other teams can come in and try to woo him away. 

“I’m going to no comment on that,” Cashman said during his end-of-year press conference at Yankees Stadium. “I’m just going to restate what has been stated by me and ownership and Aaron Boone, and anybody related to the Yankees. We’d love to be able to bring Aaron Judge back and have him maintain being a member of this franchise and the career path he’s currently on is hall-of-fame-like. Nothing better than to have him continue to man right field for us and impact us on and off the field the way he has thus far. We’ll have the conversations as promised and see where they take us. 

“He’s put himself in a great position to have a lot of choices.” 

Judge is coming off an incredible season that saw him slash .311/.425/.686 during the regular season and set the new benchmark for home runs in the American League with 62. At times he carried the Yankees’ offense, but did struggle a bit during the postseason. 

Still, re-signing Judge has been one of the most talked about topics since the season ended at the hands of the Houston Astros in the American League Championship Series. 

Cashman wouldn’t say if there was a dollar amount that he wouldn’t go over during negotiations. The Yankees general manager said that there were plenty of factors that go into signing a player like Judge, when asked about the balance between making a sound business decision and acknowledging how important he is to the franchise. 

“Ultimately Hal Steinbrenner will collect will all information,” Cashman said. “From the industry standpoint, where people are in free agency, things can get pretty crazy. And then factor in everything else that are non-baseball related. Whether it’s what drives our fanbase in showing up and supporting us. He wants to make them happy and he’s always been driven that way is to try and make our fans happy. Hopefully, we’ll have some positive conversations that will lead to the outcome that we want.” 

Judge’s contract had been a cloud hanging over the Yankees’ season after Judge turned down the team’s final offer of a seven-year, $213.5 million contract extension before the start of the year. New York got off to a strong start and had been one of the best teams in baseball through the first half of the year, which took some of the pressure off the contract situation and Judge’s home run chase put off thinking about the future for the slugger in the Bronx. 

But now with the offseason, the Judge’s contract is now one of the biggest issues that the Yankees need to address. Cashman wouldn’t say that getting a contract of the size Judge will ultimately get was the top priority, but he did acknowledge that it makes the rest of the offseason a bit easier to manage. 

Yankees Aaron Judge
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

“It’s optimal to know what you’re dealing with,” Cashman said. “It helps you navigate the rest of it if you know what you’re committed to already. He’s going to dictate the dance steps to his free agency cause he’s earned the right to get there. He’s worked extremely hard to put himself in this position, so we’ll see how it plays out.” 

However, Judge isn’t the only player that will need a new contract, which could include Anthony Rizzo, who is reportedly going to opt out of his current contract in order to get a new one with New York. Cashman noted there was still work to be done even if Judge walked into his office and re-signed tomorrow. 

Another variable of the situation is where Judge’s head is at. He has kept his cards close when the topic of his contract had come up during the regular season and Boone said that the two had a nice conversation in his office after the final game of the season. 

Boone would only really say that he hoped Judge returned and was a Yankee forever. 

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There has also been a perception that Cashman’s decision to go public with the team’s final contract offer may have rubbed Judge the wrong way. Cashman pushed back on that assertion and said that he had given Judge and his representation notice that he was going to do it because it was going to go public anyway.

“No, no. In my interactions with him right out of the gate thereafter was no different than it was before,” Cashman said when asked if Judge had expressed any displeasure about it. “I didn’t get any call from (Judge’s agent) Page Odle ’cause Page knew we were doing that.”