NEW YORK – When it comes to Aaron Judge And his future with the New York Yankees, mom is the word.
General Manager Brian Cashman declined to comment Friday on whether he hired Judge representatives on a new deal. However, Cashman did not address the judge’s importance in the organization’s plans for this off-season and beyond.
“When you make those commitments to the players, you know he’s a fan favorite,” Cashman said during a news conference at Yankee Stadium on Friday. “He interacts with our fans very well. He’s respected within this club, and he handles his business as well as you can. He’s an elite player – among the best, if not the best in the game. With all that being said, these are the kinds of players. who you want to keep and have as long as possible.”
Judge’s historic 2022 season — .311/.425/.686 with a MLS record of 62 and 131 RBI — has the 6-foot-7 footballer in a position to receive one of the biggest contracts in baseball history this season.
Cashman said owner Hal Steinbrenner will spend time measuring the market for Judge this off season to see what kind of commitment the team will be willing to make going forward. The fact that Judge is a player who brings fans to the field will play a role in how much money the Yankees will be willing to commit on a long-term contract.
“As George Steinbrenner said, he puts the breeder in the seats,” Cashman said. “People want to go watch this guy play, and you want to put great teams on the field. They want to come here to watch the competition and win. Some individual players skip the team and everything stops when they’re on the battlefield or they have the ball in their hands. It’s one of those types of talents.”
Whether or not the judge returns to New York, it will shape the Yankees’ team’s trajectory abroad. With a judge’s signature going to be the team’s biggest cost, the front office is making contingency plans based on whether he can sign the star player and how he can move forward this season if he can’t.
“[Judge is] He’ll dictate the dance steps to his free agency and he’s worked really hard to earn this position, so we’ll see how it’s done,” Cashman said. He can limit you a little along the way, but he’s not the only one we need to deal with. It’s the most important one, but if he comes here today and says, “Oh, man, I’m recording, let’s go,” there’s still a lot of work to do. “
Yankees manager Aaron Boone said he had a chat with Judge in his office at the end of the season and expressed his appreciation for their relationship and how it has evolved over the years.
“Of course I hope that Yankee comes back for good,” Boone said. “I can’t think of a better person that you want to lead your team and lead your organization, and I hope everything will be OK. But my conversations with him now are just networking with him during the winter and I hope it works out. But that is clearly above me.”
While Steinbrenner is committed to Boone’s return as manager, questions surround Cashman’s future with the organization. Cashman’s contract expired at the end of October and he is still employed at will with the team. He continues to hold planning meetings with the rest of the front office, and said Steinbrenner told him there was an interest in keeping him with the team.
Although his future is up in the air, Cashman remains focused on shaping the Yankees’ plans to be a better team for 2023 and win the World Championship – with or without the judge.
“We have a lot of other things that we need to deal with to put ourselves in a better position to navigate not only the Astros, but all the other newcomers who are making their way into the mix to represent the MLS in the world next year’s series,” Cashman said. Be us, but that’s something we couldn’t get on with.
“Aside from acknowledging that Aaron Judge is such an important piece here, it’s just one of many works we hope to do in different styles and fashions.”
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