Brian Cashman
Kim Klement | USA TODAY Sports

Here we go.

The Yankees are unlikely to sign Aaron Judge to a contract extension before Opening Day, according to ESPN’s Jeff Passan. The report leaves the door open for a last-second agreement — “barring a significant chance in the new few hours” — but that is not going to happen by all indications.

This outcome began to feel inevitable when, after weeks of quiet negotiating, the Yankees’ offer leaked to The New York Post on Friday morning. It was clearly an effort to preemptively frame the fallout.

Hey, we tried. We offered more than we gave A-Rod. What do you want us to do?

The big questions now:

Exactly how far off are the two sides? If Judge is demanding Mike Trout money ($35 million a year), this whole thing may have been doomed from the start. Because Judge is many things, but he is not Trout. But if he simply wants Mookie Betts money ($30 million per), then the Yankees are going to be blamed and this will become yet another cudgel to be used against Hal Steinbrenner, furthering his growing reputation as a bean-counter who isn’t willing to spend what it takes to win the World Series.

This will be a colossal distraction. That’s a statement, actually. Of course it will be one. This is New York. We’re going to talk about this every day now.

Will Brian Cashman trade Judge? It can’t be ruled out, no? If the Yankees think there is a chance Judge is going to walk, they might as well get something for him. Would they look to make a deal early on or wait until the deadline?

Will Steve Cohen make a run at Judge? It seems like most people believe Judge would end up going home to California if he leaves the Yankees. But Uncle Steve could officially take over the city if he backs the Brinks truck up this offseason and lands Judge.

James Kratch is the managing editor of ESNY. He previously worked as a Rutgers and Giants (and Mike Francesa) beat reporter for NJ Advance Media.