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Hal Steinbrenner, Yankees Won't Provide Updates on Extension Talks With Aaron Judge

Steinbrenner said Wednesday that he doesn't regret New York's offer that was presented to Judge before the season began.

It doesn’t sound like the Yankees and superstar slugger Aaron Judge will reach an agreement on a long-term extension during the 2022 regular season. This means he would become a free agent following the year.

According to team owner Hal Steinbrenner, the Yankees aren’t going to provide updates on the situation until the campaign concludes.

"No matter what happens during the season, we're not going to give any updates,” Steinbrenner told reporters over Zoom on Wednesday. “We're just not going to do it. I mean, I completely agree with Aaron that in no way, shape or form can this be a distraction."

The Yankees and Judge were in contract talks ahead of the regular season, using Opening Day as a hard deadline to strike a deal. In the end, they were unable to do so, which left Judge “disappointed.”

“I've been vocal about wanting to be a Yankee for life," Judge said in April. "I want to bring a championship back to New York. I want to do it for the fans here. They're family. This is home for me, and not getting that done right now, it stinks. But I've got a job to do on the field. I've got to shift my focus to that and go play some ball."

As general manager Brian Cashman revealed, Judge turned down a seven-year, $213.5 million offer. Both sides eventually agreed on an arbitration settlement, which pays Judge $19 million in 2022.

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Judge, 30, opted to bet on himself in a walk-year, which is paying off so far. He is leading MLB with 29 home runs, and has looked like an early favorite to win the AL MVP Award. The Yankees also have the best record in baseball, and are on pace to win 116 games, with Judge leading the way as their superstar player.

While Judge is expected to receive a contract way north of what the Yankees’ initially offered, Steinbrenner has zero regrets regarding how the first round of negotiations played out in the offseason.

“Not at all. We made an offer that I feel was a very good one,” Steinbrenner said. “It was based on the numbers, of course, but it was also based in part on what he means to this organization. It was a combination of both, and we just didn’t get a deal done. … There are no regrets, and we’re going to be having discussions at some point.”

 As long as Judge keeps up this pace, the Yankees will be forced to back up the brinks truck with a historic contract extension. Should they be unwilling to meet his demands, he will likely have plenty of options elsewhere around the league. But Judge has all the leverage over Steinbrenner and Cashman. The Yankees cannot afford to lose their face of the franchise, despite the cost and if he leads the Bronx Bombers to their first World Series title since 2009, forget about it. Judge will have to be a Yankee for life, with no other alternatives.

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Follow Pat Ragazzo on Twitter (@ragazzoreport). Be sure to bookmark Inside The Pinstripes and check back daily for news, analysis and more.