Aaron Judge yankees
Tim Heitman | USA TODAY Sports

The Yankees have gotten the message out: They want Aaron Judge back.

But are they willing to do absolutely everything it takes?

From The Athletic:

The way the free-agent market for Aaron Judge is developing, it appears increasingly likely the winning bid will be for nine guaranteed years, sources involved in the negotiations say.

A nine-year deal for Judge, who turns 31 on April 26, would take him through his Age 39 season. The Yankees might need to decide if they are comfortable offering that long a contract to retain their star outfielder. Judge, in turn, might face a decision about whether he wants to leave the Yankees for one extra guaranteed year.

The Yankees have offered Judge a deal in the eight-year, $300 million range, according to ESPN. But that was before the Rangers signed Jacob deGrom away from the Mets by giving him a five-year pact with an option for a sixth.

The Mets had no interest in that term length, and understandably so. The odds of deGrom’s deal being a drag on the Rangers’ payroll in the 2026-28 range are high. But the Rangers were willing to make a future sacrifice for a splash in the present. And there is no reason to believe, say, the Giants would not make the same calculation with Judge if it comes to that.

All reporting indicates the Mets only wanted to go three years with deGrom. Even if they were willing to go to a fourth season, they were still basically two years apart in the end given the sixth-year option. Which is a sizable gap. The Yankees being a year off from Judge would not be as wide a gulf. And really, if that is what it will take, owner Hal Steinbrenner and general manager Brian Cashman likely have to just give it to him. It’s just money in the end.

But while that make sense here, it may not make sense to the Yankees. And they are the ones making the call. Time will tell.

James Kratch can be reached at [email protected]

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.