The New York Yankees finished their pursuit of slugger Aaron Judge without concluding on a big contract extension. General manager Brian Cashman offered Judge a $230 million contract over seven seasons, but the team was unsuccessful in convincing him to take the deal rather than bet on himself.
Instead, Judge will play the 2022 season on his arbitration number of $17 million, which could end up biting him in the butt if he doesn’t exceed expectations. Over five games, Judge is hitting .250 and has failed to hit one over the outfield fence, but the time will come. He’s only striking out on 22.7% of his at-bats, showcasing more patience with his approach.
Cashman indicated that the team put in a lot of effort to find a fair deal, but Judge wants to be paid Mike Trout money, which is a bit overzealous considering he is about to turn 30 years old.
“We ended that process with a legit effort and now we live to see another day,” Cashman said. “…Hopefully we can find common ground, if not now, later.”
Despite the two sides not coming to a conclusion on a deal, Cashman isn’t ready to pursue any other free agents on the market, notably Michael Conforto.
Conforto has been connected to the Yankees on numerous occasions this off-season, hitting .232 last year over 125 games. Conforto’s last stellar campaign came back in 2019 when he launched 33 homers and hit .257, paired with solid defensive metrics.
Cashman was asked about the prospect of pursuing Conforto, which he brushed off, indicating his “outfield is set.”
“We expect big things from [Aaron] Hicks and [Joey] Gallo,” Cashman said. “Hopefully we don’t have to pursue any outside options.”
Thus far, both Hicks and Gallo have struggled to some degree to open the year. Hicks launched an important two-run blast against the Toronto Blue Jays on Tuesday, showcasing his value. Gallo has struggled to get on base but has made some solid contact this year, whereas he was whiffing regularly in 2021.
Nonetheless, it seems as if the Yankees are situated in the outfield but could use a bit more starting pitching support.