The Yankees understand they are in a do-or-die situation. Aaron Judge’s historic 2022 campaign turned up the heat on general manager Brian Cashman to bring the AL single-season home run record holder back to the Bronx.
Judge, 30, a homegrown Yankee, is a free agent and was named AL MVP on Thursday night after he slashed .311/.425/.686 with 62 homers and 131 RBI, adding to his resume as he hits the open market.
“I don’t think there’s any more pressure on us than there already is,” said Cashman at Covenant House Sleep Out at Silverstein Family Park, where he slept outside to raise awareness for homeless youth. “Whether he won the award [MVP] or not, the season he had, he’s been our team leader and our best player. We do definitely feel the pressure and rightfully so.
“He bet on himself this spring and it really paid off. And that can go a lot of different ways but, he made sure it didn’t go a certain way.”
Judge turned down a seven-year, $213.5 offer from the Yankees prior to the start of last season. At the time, it was seen by many as a fair offer, however, the right fielders 2022 campaign surely upped the price tag.
With their franchise player on the open market, Cashman has wasted no time in trying to put the AL home run king back in pinstripes.
“Yea, [we’ve made an offer] we’re in real-time,” said Cashman. “We’re on the clock. We’re certainly not going to mess around. Of course, we’ve made another offer, we’ve made offers since spring training.
“In the early stages of free agency, our first conversations with Aaron Judge started the day after our season ended. So, we’re serious, we’ve always said we were.”
Cashman continuously stated that the Yankees are obviously very serious in the pursuit of their star player. Hal Steinbrenner said on Tuesday that he has plenty of resources to bring back Judge and whatever else is necessary to make the Yankees a World Series champion.
However, there are 29 other teams that will get their chance to pitch Judge on their franchise, which leaves somewhat of an unknown of how this process will play out.
“Clearly we are live in active conversations,” Cashman said. “But again, I have no idea where the rest of the industries sit. I think Aaron Judge without a doubt loved playing here, he said it many of times.
“But, does he daydream about elsewhere? Only he can answer that.”
IKF BACK FOR 2023
The Yankees announced on Friday that they have tendered shortstop Isiah Kiner-Falefa a one-year, $6 million contract for the 2023 season.
Kiner-Falefa in his first season as a Yankee posted a slash line of .261/.314/.327 with four homers, 48 RBI and 22 stolen bases in 2022. The 27-year-old was the shortstop for most of last season before he was periodically benched in the postseason for defensive struggles.
Kiner-Falefa appears to be in line to compete for the shortstop position in spring training along with young prospects Anthony Volpe an Oswald Peraza.