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Yankees' Hal Steinbrenner Ready to Spend to Retain Aaron Judge This Offseason

Steinbrenner is prepared to pay Aaron Judge and then "make other things happen too" this winter.
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Yankees owner Hal Steinbrenner understands that he needs to dig deep into his pockets to keep Aaron Judge in pinstripes this offseason. 

Speaking to reporters at the Owners Meetings in Manhattan on Tuesday, Steinbrenner assured that money won't stop the Yankees from retaining Judge and adding other pieces this winter.

“Honestly, my budget for Judge is going to be what it’s going to be and what I feel like we can do,” Steinbrenner told reporters, like Chris Kirschner of The Athletic. “It’s not limitless, obviously. … In my opinion we’re going to be able to sign Aaron. That’s not going to stop me from signing other people. Some guys are going to come off the board sooner than others, and if it’s somebody we need or feel we need then I got to make the decision to continue improving the club and not hold back until we figure out Aaron.”

Steinbrenner told Meredith Marakovits of YES Network earlier this week that he's had multiple "positive" conversations with Judge about his trip to free agency, demonstrating his desire to keep Judge in a Yankees uniform.

"I’ve absolutely conveyed that I want him to be a Yankee for the rest of his life,” Steinbrenner added, per Kirschner. “No doubt about that. He knows the rest is up to him and his family and where they want to go from here, but we’re going to do what we can. I can assure you.”

As much as Judge is the Yankees' top priority—and most expensive venture—this winter, it's going to take more to get over the hump. New York got the ball rolling by re-signing first baseman and clubhouse leader Anthony Rizzo on Tuesday to a two-year contract. 

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Next, the Yankees will look to fortify their pitching staff, making tweaks to their lineup as well. New York has a clear hole in left field, could shake up their infield with a trade and no team has enough pitching.

“We have plenty of ability — and Aaron and I talked about this — to make other things happen, too,” Steinbrenner said.

Spending isn't always the only piece of the puzzle, though. 

“We were the third-highest [payroll] in baseball, and the two higher than us didn’t do as well as us,” Steinbrenner said. “The Dodgers — huge market like us and we obviously get compared a lot to them — they put a lot of money into their payroll every year. How many World Series have they won in the last 10 or 15 years? It’s tough. Winning a championship is tough. I’m not making excuses and it probably sounds that way. If you look at it objectively, it’s tough. We’re going to do the same thing every year, which is field a championship-caliber team that can do it.”

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