Yankees focused on Aaron Judge, not going to rush him

SAN DIEGO — The New York Yankees want to make it clear that Aaron Judge has their highest — and currently only — priority in the hands of freelancers.

Yankees general manager Brian Cashman said Monday at MLB’s winter meetings that the team remains in discussions with Judge and his representatives and that the two sides have exchanged contract offers. He said Yankees owner Hal Steinbrenner, who said last month he wanted Judge “to stay a Yankee for the rest of his life,” personally met with the 2022 American League MVP in Tampa, Fla.

Steinbrenner “puts his money where his mouth is,” Cashman said.

“We’d love to have our player back,” Cashman said. “We’d love to continue to call him our player every step of the way as he follows what looks like – as long as nothing happens – a career path that will take him to Cooperstown. I want him to wear pinstripes every step of the way.”

Cashman said he is not aware of any plans for Judge to be present at the San Diego winter meetings and that the team has no further plans at this time to meet with the star-slugger in person.

Due to the large financial commitment that would require signing the judge, the Yankees are currently on hold with several other free agents while awaiting the judge’s decision. Cashman said the Yankees would not impose a schedule on Judge out of respect for him.

“I appreciate being able to have a conversation with a player Judge’s size,” said Cashman, who re-signed with the franchise on Monday to a four-year deal. “Owning here has allowed us to stay in the game on a big ticket. And that’s great. I’m sure there are many teams that would like access to a player of his caliber but are unable to attend so the requests will be immense.”

While the Yankees have contingency plans in case they are unable to re-sign Judge, Cashman said the team cannot commit to any further big moves.

“All dominoes that fall are dominoes, like an Aaron Judge. You know, if Aaron Judge signs somewhere else, we commit to something else? Are we making ourselves completely new? It’s not what we want to do. Finally young kids that are here that we’re really looking forward to,” Cashman said.

But as free agency continues and more players exit the market, Cashman acknowledged the team is taking more and more risks by waiting for Judge to make a decision about its future.

“It’s not like we missed the time in my opinion,” Cashman said. “I understand the longer things take, the more vulnerable you are. It’s easier if we drive, but we don’t drive it.”

https://www.espn.com/mlb/story/_/id/35192682/cashman-yankees-focused-aaron-judge-not-going-rush-him Yankees focused on Aaron Judge, not going to rush him

Emma Bowman

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