If the Yankees acquire Juan Soto, don’t rule out an extension for Aaron Judge

Daniel Cunningham
New York Yankees, Aaron Judge
USA Today

The New York Yankees and GM Brian Cashman are working overtime right now. As they approach the Subway Series starting tonight against the Mets, the front office is working the phones trying to make some big deals happen for a World Series push.

The needs of the team are rather obvious. They need another quality outfielder, starting pitching help, and a bullpen arm. The Yankees are looking at all possibilities and they are currently players for the two biggest fish on the market.

Those two players being starting pitcher Luis Castillo and star outfielder Juan Soto. The Yankees have reached out to the Reds and Nationals to figure out what it would take to get deals done and if the Yanks get one of them, it would require giving up a haul.

One thing I think I can say with certainty is that New York will not get both. I just can’t see Brian Cashman giving up that much at this year’s deadline. However, I definitely see a scenario where the Yankees get one of them.

If I had to put money on it, I’d say Castillo is more likely. However, the Yankees are very serious regarding their interest in Juan Soto and why wouldn’t they be? We are talking about one of the best players in baseball who is younger than eleven of the Yankees top thirty prospects.

One wrinkle in this entire situation is New York’s Aaron Judge. Judge is having the best year of his career and is the clear-cut favorite to win AL MVP. He’s a free agent after this season and some think that if New York acquires Soto, they will let Judge walk.

Yankees might do both

In theory, it makes sense that if the Yankees get Juan Soto, they’d say goodbye to Aaron Judge. If they want to keep Soto long-term, it would be hard to see them paying over $30 million a year for each considering they are already paying Gerrit Cole and Giancarlo Stanton massive deals.

However, there’s one important thing to keep in mind with Juan Soto. If New York was to get Soto, they would have him for three playoff runs before he hits free agency. Three years of Juan Soto for the playoffs is still worth giving up a prospect haul.

Acquiring Soto would also give the Yankees extra leverage with Judge especially if he wants to stay in New York. If New York gets Soto, they would still negotiate with Judge, but just like before the season, New York would have their limits except this time, they’d have insurance.

People look at Judge like this generation’s Derek Jeter. He’s widely viewed as the captain of the team and for that reason, many Yankees fans are nervous that a Soto acquisition would lead to him walking away.

However, there’s a clear scenario where the Yanks can have their cake and eat it too for the next three seasons. If I was in charge, why wouldn’t you try to do both. If you’re telling me I can have Judge and Soto hitting back-to-back for the next three playoff runs, I’m in. I’ll worry about the rest later.

Of course, from a business perspective, Juan Soto at 23-years-old is the better long-term play for the Yankees. And maybe if they get him, they do let Judge walk with the intent of making Soto the face of the franchise. However, Cashman and Steinbrenner will have options and believe me, they will explore all of them.