Brian Cashman did not break any news by saying as much in his latest comments about the soon-to-be free agent slugger. But the general manager may have also expressed a sense of uncertainty about whether Judge will want to stay for 2023 and beyond.
“In spring training, we had told our fanbase we were going to make a strong, committed offer to re-sign Aaron Judge. To restate, our commitment there is still there,” Cashman said Wednesday on “The Show” podcast with Post columnists Jon Heyman and Joel Sherman.
“We’d love to be able to retain him. Obviously he’s put himself in a very good position. But in terms of negotiations, we said at the time we weren’t going to go speak to it any further. So I’m not going to speak to negotiating points now. I’m just going to continue to honor that. But obviously we need Aaron Judge to continue to do what he’s doing. He’s propelled us, along with his teammates, him obviously more clearly than others with what his contributions have been. We’re proud of that and hopefully we’ll have a chance to revisit things at another time and speak to it when that happens and when it’s resolved, one way or the other.”
Judge bet on himself in April when he turned down a substantial long-term offer from the Yankees, ending extension talks on Opening Day. The gamble has paid off in historic fashion.
Judge has blasted 48 home runs this year and is on pace to hit 63, which would surpass Roger Maris’ 61 as the franchise and American League record (and make Judge the rightful home run king in the eyes of many). He almost single-handedly powers the Yankees’ offense. It has been the prove-it season of prove-it seasons, and it positions Judge to become the highest-paid position player in history this winter.
But will that be with the Yankees? There are several factors at play.
Does Judge want to be here? He has said he does. But he is also a northern California native and the Giants are expected to make a big run at him.
Will someone come out of the clouds with a massive offer? You never know when, say, the Rangers are going to spend recklessly to make a splash. Or the Mets?
Are the Yankees willing to pay up? Would they match any offer? Would they go high enough for Judge to re-sign before he hits the market?
Heyman asked Cashman directly: Do the Yankees want Judge back? The general manager did not hesitate to say yes. But again, there seemed to be a tinge of doubt.
“We’ve never deviated from that,” Cashman said. “That’s an easy thing to say. We’ve said it before, we’ve said it after. And I know he’s said it too. He’s said he’d like to be a Yankee moving forward, and we’d like to have him be a Yankee moving forward. Obviously the discussions regarding contract will take us where they take us.”
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James Kratch can be reached at [email protected]