Yankees update on Aaron Judge: There will be no updates

Wednesday was the middle of the Yankees’ 2022 season. In 81 games, they not only had the best record (58-23) in Major League Baseball, but they were also on course to tie the 1906 Chicago Cubs and 2001 Seattle Mariners for the most wins (116) in a 162-game regular season.

One of the main reasons for the Yankees’ success is outfielder Aaron Judge. Going into Wednesday night’s game at Pittsburgh, he led MLB with 29 home runs, was fifth in on-base percentage plus slugging at .972 and tied for sixth in wins over substitution, according to Fangraphs.

Judge’s future, however, has hung over the Yankees all season. A longtime Yankee who says he wants to stay pinstriped, Judge will be eligible for free agency for the first time in his career after the season. Despite an attempt by the Yankees to sign him to a long-term extension before the regular season, he will be allowed — and has indicated he will — speak to all 30 teams over the winter. But until then, he said, he does not want to negotiate.

“No matter what happens during the season, we’re not going to give updates,” Yankees general partner Hal Steinbrenner said in a video call with reporters on Wednesday.

“We’re just not going to do it,” he continued. “I completely agree with Aaron – and still do – that this can’t be a distraction in any way. The only goal is to win a championship. That’s all anyone needs. to worry about right now.

Prior to the season, Steinbrenner authorized the front office to offer Judge an extension that would have guaranteed him $213.5 million for seven years. Despite the season Judge has had – he’s close to matching or surpassing his 2017 season, in which he won the American League Rookie of the Year award and was the second-most more valuable — and how his price likely disappeared into place, Steinbrenner said he had no regrets about the Yankees’ rejected offer.

He said the team’s proposal was “very good” and based on the numbers and “what it means for this organization”. Because of the labor struggle with players over the winter, Steinbrenner said, the lockout reduced the amount of time the Yankees could have negotiated with Judge before the season.

But still, Steinbrenner said, the team would have discussions with the judge after the season. He said he hoped Judge, who turned 30 in April, stays pinstriped, but “there’s a lot of talk to be had.”

“He was phenomenal,” added Steinbrenner later.

Winning a World Series, which would be the Yankees’ first since 2009, could help Judge’s case for a record contract for an outfielder. Los Angeles Angels outfielder Mike Trout, 30, a three-time ALMVP, earns an average of $35.5 million a year through 2030.

Despite starting the season with many questions about whether they had done enough to improve, the Yankees have been the best team in baseball. Behind right-hander Gerrit Cole and left-hander Nestor Cortes, pitching rotation has been the backbone of the roster. The bullpen found stability in Clay Holmes and Michael King while Aroldis Chapman, Zack Britton and Jonathan Loáisiga struggled with injuries.

But the most improved are composition (including lowering his strikeout rate) and defense, replacing receiver Gary Sanchez with Jose Trevino and shortstop Gleyber Torres with Isiah Kiner-Falefa and moving Torres to second. aim.

“I didn’t spend $300 million doing it, but I think most people are pretty happy with Isiah and the job he’s done,” Steinbrenner said, presumably referring to the payroll. team record for luxury tax purposes of $259 million. Mets ($288 million) and Los Angeles Dodgers ($302 million). Steinbrenner was criticized in the offseason for retaining top shortstop prospects and not signing a prized free agent shortstop such as Corey Seager or Carlos Correa.

“I knew we had a team capable of great things, but I’m not going to sit here and say I absolutely knew they would get the historic start that they are,” Steinbrenner said. He qualified the special team not only for their performances on the pitch but also in the clubhouse.

Steinbrenner also pointed to new members of manager Aaron Boone’s coaching staff — particularly batting coach Dillon Lawson — as the main reasons this season went better for the Yankees, who were 92-70. in 2021 and fell to the Boston Red Sox in the AL. wild card game. After ranking below average last season, the Yankees’ offense (five points per game) is only ahead of the Dodgers (5.04 points per game) in points this year.

In terms of potential ways to bolster the roster ahead of the Aug. 2 trade deadline, Steinbrenner said he has yet to sit down with the front office. He said a team can never have enough pitches and reiterated his reluctance to trade top prospects.

Steinbrenner predicted his team could face the Houston Astros, who have since won the tainted 2017 World Series title and been a tough opponent since then in the playoffs. He also dreamed of an all-New York World Series with the Mets, who have been one of the best teams in the National League.

“Having two good teams is a good thing, and that’s what we have,” he said. “And meeting in the playoffs, I totally agree. It means I’ll be there.

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