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With Aaron Judge Negotiations Ongoing, Yankees' Offseason Spending 'On Hold'

Yankees GM Brian Cashman gave an update on talks with Aaron Judge on Monday, explaining how the entire offseason can change depending on the slugger's decision.
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SAN DIEGO — As the Yankees continue their negotiations with Aaron Judge in free agency, looking to retain the face of their franchise, New York's general manager Brian Cashman has found himself in a bind. 

With upwards of $300 million at stake, if New York can seal the deal with Judge, Cashman said he has been "on hold," unable to progress beyond introductory conversations with other free agents and trade partners.

"Clearly, with the amount of commitment it would take to retain an Aaron Judge type, it puts us a little bit on hold, obviously unable to follow up any further past engagement," Cashman said at the Winter Meetings in San Diego on Monday evening. 

The general manager, who signed a four-year deal to stay with the Yankees on Monday, added that negotiations have been ongoing, going back and forth between New York and Judge's camp. ESPN reported last week that the Yankees have an eight-year deal worth approximately $300 million on the table for Judge. Cashman declined to comment on that rumored offer, saying instead that the Yankees have made "a number of offers" to Judge this offseason.

"I can only provide you that we're in active conversations," Cashman said. "We would certainly love to land the plane favorably here in New York and in the Bronx, but we're not flying the plane. We'll wait for this process to play out and that means staying active in the conversations and negotiations."

Cashman made it clear that the Yankees are ready and willing to spend, dancing on the negotiation table with a superstar that they don't want to lose.

"I can tell you [Yankees owner Hal Steinbrenner] is putting his money where his mouth is," said Cashman. "He told our fanbase he's going to make every effort to sign this player. It doesn't guarantee anything. Certainly, to restate, we'd love to have our player back, we would love to continue to call him our player every step of the way as he follows what looks like, as long as nothing happens, a career path right to Cooperstown. We would love it to be in pinstripes every step of the way. At the same time, there's competition."

Judge has a few teams to choose from if he elects to depart from the Yankees this winter. The Giants are seen as a favorite—a hometown spin for Judge, who grew up in Linden, California—while the Dodgers could blow the reigning AL MVP away with a short-term contract. There could be other powerhouses in play as well. Mark Feinsand of reported on Monday that while no mystery teams have emerged at the Winter Meetings to this point, that could change in the coming days. 

Even with the pressure to act quickly, allowing the organization to initiate the second stage of their offseason plan, Cashman wants to respect Judge's rights in free agency. There are risks with this waiting game, but there are also risks in pushing Judge to make his decision sooner.

"It's easier if we are driving it, but we're not driving," he said. "I mean, I just don't want to play the game of take this, I need to know now and risk what comes from that. I’m not doing that to this player, he’s too important to us to try to mess with like that. And so he's got a lot of leverage he’s put himself in, he's earned that right. We respect that."

In the meantime, Cashman, Steinbrenner and the entire organization will continue to ponder every possible alternative. Whether Judge re-signs or not, plans can change quickly and drastically over the next several days and weeks. 

"The way this winter is gonna play out, it can take a lot of different roads that we didn't expect," Cashman said. "The phone has been a lot more active in the last five days than it was prior to that. So feels like things have developed slowly and now it’s starting to open up a little bit with people being creative and things of that nature."


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