Roughly a month after an unprompted Brian Cashman revealed the Yankees’ last known offer to Aaron Judge, the general manager is taking a new approach to contract talks with the surging slugger.
Judge has played like an MVP candidate since declining a seven-year, $213.5 million extension prior to Opening Day, a deadline that he set in order to limit in-season distractions. However, on Wednesday, Cashman was asked about a possible midseason return to the negotiating table. It was then that he offered a change in tactics.
"We're not going to talk about it now going forward,” Cashman said before New York’s win over the Blue Jays, per MLB.com’s Bryan Hoch. “Whether that means we're not going to talk, I'm not saying that, but we're not going to talk about it (publicly). But he's been great. But that's no surprise because he is great."
Cashman’s comments came the morning after Judge clobbered a walk-off homer against Toronto. He is hitting .288 with a .965 OPS, 10 homers and 22 RBI following Wednesday’s action, which resulted in a sweep of the Jays.
Judge expressed displeasure with Cashman publicizing New York’s offer the day that it happened, but Cashman said he was not aware of that, nor has he felt any ill will from the outfielder since then, per Newsday’s Laura Albanese. Cashman added that Judge’s camp was told the general manger planned on publicizing the terms. Such a move is unusual for a front office executive.
Despite that, Judge has maintained that he wants to stay with the Yankees long-term, and the team will have time to negotiate with him before free agency opens this coming offseason. Judge, however, could insist on testing the open market, especially if he continues to stay healthy and productive.
In addition to figuring out his long-term future, Judge is also still waiting to find out how much he will make this season. Because of the lockout, arbitration hearings still haven’t happened yet. The Yankees offered Judge a $17 million salary for 2022, while Judge responded with $21 million. The two sides can still work out a compromise, and thus avoid arbitration.
Cashman chose not to disclose a date on Wednesday, but the New York Post’s Joel Sherman reported that a hearing is set for June 22. Judge’s case is scheduled to be the last one heard this year. His performance this season will not factor into the hearing, per rules agreed to by MLB and the MLBPA.
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