Randy Levine
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Yankees president Randy Levine has weighed in on Aaron Judge’s impending free agency.

From “The Show” podcast hosted by Post baseball columnists Jon Heyman and Joel Sherman:

Those are questions (whether the Yankees will re-sign Judge) that really aren’t appropriate to answer now. But what is appropriate to answer now is that we love Aaron Judge. We think Aaron Judge is an all-time Yankee, we think he is a great player — a beyond great player. We think he’s a great person. That’s why we offered him the highest position player contract in the history of the Yankees. I admire him that he went out and took this upon his shoulders, and we’ll sit down with him and hopefully figure it out.

I think there is no question that we want him back. There is no question we value him. And at the end of the day, he is a Yankee. And like with all free agents, being a Yankee is really, really important. It brings a lot that maybe other locations don’t. Now we’re talking about the home run chase with Babe Ruth and Roger Maris, two Yankees.

There is no issue here, whether we want Aaron Judge back. There is no issue how much we value him. It’s a negotiation. What we’ll talk about, with him and his representatives, in the offseason is how do we keep him? And then it will be up to him. Does he want to stay here? Does he want to go somewhere else? Is someone offering him a better deal? I think we will be extraordinarily competitive. I think [owner Hal Steinbrenner] has been competitive. We have one of the top payrolls in baseball, we always have. We value him. It’s never been a question of not wanting Aaron Judge or not valuing Aaron Judge. We think he’s one of the best players in baseball. It’s just a question of getting to “yes.” And we’re going to try again.

And then when Heyman asked if there was any way the Yankees could move forward without Judge on their team:

We don’t want to let him leave. We’re going to try our very best to make him where we think he belongs, a longtime Yankee. But it takes two to get to yes. I’ve negotiated a lot of deals in my life, and it’s hard to get to yes. At the end of the day, we’re going to really, really try. We know his worth, we know what he’s all about. But it takes two to tango. I’m not in his mind. He’s a man, he’s now married, he’s got a family, and I don’t know what’s in his mind. We don’t know what’s in his mind. All we can do is try to show him how much we’d like him to remain a Yankee. 

Fans are fans, and I love them. But negotiations, at the end of the day, have to be in the realm of reality. Not unreality. And there are a lot of professionals here that know what they’re doing. He has professionals that know what they’re doing. So there’s venting and saying stuff that makes no sense at all in the real world, and then there’s the real effort that we’re going to try to do to keep him a Yankee forever.

Now back to the home run chase. But winter is coming.

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James Kratch can be reached at james.kratch@xlmedia.com. Follow him on Twitter @JamesKratch.

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.