Aaron Judge, Yankees extension talks update

NEW YORK — Aaron Judge and the Yankees continued to speak on Thursday in hopes of reaching a multi-year contract extension, according to MLB.com’s Jon Paul Morosithough it is unclear if they will agree by the outfielder’s self-imposed Opening Day deadline.

Yankees first baseman Anthony Rizzo said that he has spoken with Judge recently about the negotiations, as have several teammates, including Giancarlo Stanton and DJ LeMahieu. Judge and the Yankees were unable to agree on a 2022 contract; Judge filed for arbitration at $21 million and the Yanks countered at $17 million.

“At the end of the day, it’s what’s going to make him and [Judge’s wife] Sam happy,” Rizzo said. “What his value is and what his worth is, it’s extremely high in this game. He’s a legitimate MVP candidate every single year, and he knows that. He’s really good at this game and he’s really good at how he handles everything.

“… What he brings to this organization, from my time being here, it’s something I haven’t seen before. When it comes to the business side of it, you see Freddie Freeman isn’t on the Braves anymore. There’s no loyalty in this game. When you separate that on the business side and you take your heart out of it, that’s the tough part.”

Yankees manager Aaron Boone said that he does not believe Judge’s contract situation will affect his play on the field.

“I know where his focus is,” Boone said. “Whether he signs an extension or not, I don’t think it will matter at all. I know what he’s focused on and I know what he’s prepared to help lead us to do.”

General manager Brian Cashman has declined to confirm if the club has made a firm offer to Judge, who turns 30 later this month. A potential extension may rank as the largest that the Yankees have issued, eclipsing those agreed upon by Derek Jeter (10 years, $189 million) and CC Sabathia (five years, $122 million).

In fact, Judge could have a chance to secure one of the biggest deals for an outfielder. That group features: Mike Trout (12 years, $426.5 million), Mookie Betts (12 years, $365 million), Bryce Harper (13 years, $330 million) and Giancarlo Stanton (13 years, $325 million).

Judge has said that he and agent Page Odle will not negotiate with the Yankees during the season, believing that doing so would be a distraction. If no agreement is reached, Judge has said that he would re-engage after the season, when he will be eligible for free agency.

“Like I’ve said, I want to be here,” Judge said recently. “Any way we can lock that up and get a chance to play here for quite a few more years, that would be great. If it happens, it happens. If it doesn’t, I’m not too worried.”

If Judge and the Yankees can agree on an extension, it would negate the need for arbitration, which would take place during the regular season. Judge has said that he would not be pleased about participating in a hearing.

“Arbitration-wise, it’s just how things go,” Judge said. “We weren’t able to settle, so we’ll go back and forth until maybe we can settle on something before the court date. And if not, we’ll see each other in court, I guess.”

Judge has beaten .276/.386/.554 with 158 home runs and 366 RBIs in six Major League seasons from 2016-21. Last year, he paced the Bombers in all slash line categories, hitting .287/.373/.544 with 39 homers and 98 RBIs in 148 games.

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