Yankees owner Hal Steinbrenner breaks silence on Aaron Judge extension talks

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The New York Yankees hold a 13-game cushion in the AL East and 4.5 game cushion over the Houston Astros in all of baseball. However, without the contributions of star slugger Aaron Judge, the Bombers wouldn’t be nearly as good as they currently are.

Judge is having an MVP-caliber season, hitting .281 with a 36% on-base rate, 29 homers, and 60 RBIs. He currently hosts a 170 wRC+, the highest since his 2017 season. His hard-hit metrics are some of the best in baseball, earning a 59.4% hard-hit rate and 24.7% barrel rate, both career highs. He’s also hitting a tremendous amount of fly balls at 41%, with 32.6% of them turning into homers.

The Yankees already struck out trying to extend Aaron Judge:

The Yankees tried to extend Judge before the 2022 season began, presenting him with a seven-year deal worth $30.5 million per season. He quickly rejected the offer, betting on himself and clearly justifying a deal upward of $35 million per year.

On Wednesday afternoon, owner Hal Steinbrenner broke the silence on Judge’s contract extension talks, indicating he wouldn’t be giving any updates on the matter.

“No matter what happens during the season, we’re not going to give any updates. We’re just not going to,” Steinbrenner said Wednesday afternoon. “I completely agree with Aaron, and still do, that in no way, shape or form can this be a distraction. So the sole focus is winning a championship. That’s all anyone needs to worry about right now.”

General manager Brian Cashman already took a strong-armed approach toward Judge’s representatives, making the numbers public to try and force his hand. Clearly, that strategy failed miserably, and the Yankees are going to pay out of the wazoo because of it.

Steinbrenner is hopeful that Judge will remain in the Bronx, despite Alex Rodriguez stating there’s a 50–50 chance he leaves, via a New York Post podcast.

“There’s no doubt we’re hopeful that is the case, but there’s a lot of discussion to be had,” he said. “I’m always willing to talk, of course, and we’re going to be doing that at one point or another, but we’re just not going to be talking about if that happens and when it happens; we’re not going to be talking about anything ’til the season’s over.”

There are a number of teams preparing to drive a Brinks truck right up to Judge’s front door to try and sway him away from the Yankees. Management isn’t going to go down without a fight, and given they will have a few players coming off the books, they will surely be able to afford him.

“We made an offer that I feel was a very good one. It was based on the numbers, of course, but it was also based, in part, on what he means to this organization,” Steinbrenner said. “We just didn’t get a deal done.”

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