Yankees’ Hal Steinbrenner talks Judge’s contract

Yankees chairman Hal Steinbrenner on Wednesday said he doesn’t want superstar Aaron Judge‘s contract situation to be a “distraction” this season, just as the outfielder is set to hit free agency this offseason.

“In no way, shape or form can this be a distraction,” said Steinbrenner, who addressed reporters for the first time since spring training. “The sole focus is winning a championship. That’s all anyone needs to worry about right now. So we’ll see where we end up.”

In the offseason, Judge and the Yankees failed to reach an agreement on a long-term extension before Opening Day. Judge, 30, had said two things consistently heading into the final year of his contract with New York: that he hoped to be a Yankee for life and he wanted to conclude extension negotiations by the start of the season.

General manager Brian Cashman said he wanted to be transparent and revealed the club’s final offer to Judge was seven years at $30.5 million per year, starting in 2023. Judge later told reporters that he didn’t like talking numbers and wanted to keep that information private.

Steinbrenner, in Pittsburgh for a Yankees series against the Pirates, reiterated the team’s interest in keeping Judge with the club long-term.

“Aaron is a great Yankee, and he’s very valuable in this organization. He’s a great leader,” Steinbrenner said. “Obviously, he’s performing extremely well this year… Yes, it’s going to be something we’re going to be looking at and talking about seriously.”

The Yankees have the best record in baseball at 58-23, and Judge has propelled the club to success while slashing .281/.360/.612 with 60 RBIs and a league-leading 29 home runs.

During his media availability, Steinbrenner praised the team’s hot start this season.

“This is a special team. And it’s not just what happens on the field itself,” he said. “You know, year after year, we’ve always had good clubhouses. But this one, I mean, the leadership, the accountability, the support they have for each other. This is a really special group of guys.”

(Photo: Troy Taormina / USA Today)


This website uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you accept our use of cookies.