What is this … the fifth time Aaron Judge has expressed he wants to remain with the New York Yankees for the rest of his career? And after a fourth-place finish in the AL MVP voting, the team has yet to begin contract extension talks despite Judge heading into a walk year.
The complaints about this franchise continue to pour in and, while some seem excessive and a bit outlandish, this one hits home for just about every fan who follows this team. Who is in charge and why does the decision making appear to be flawed in every manner?
General manager Brian Cashman approached free agency with the usual conservative nature that keeps this team from winning an ALCS. Did Josh Donaldson and Isiah Kiner-Falefa make the team better? Sure. Was it the best possible way to do so? Absolutely not. And now there’s a hole at catcher, so … there ya go.
But forget about free agency and the trade market — both of which have posed an eternal struggle for this franchise ever since their last World Series win. What about simply … taking care of your best players when it was appropriate to do so?
We’re jumping the gun on Luis Severino and Aaron Hicks to ensure they’re both taken care of before free agency but it’s OK to play the waiting game with Judge?
The last egregious report that dropped from Joel Sherman of the New York Post suggested the Yankees were preparing a “long presentation” for Judge. Is this going to be like when Ari Gold tried to sell Vinny Chase on remaining with his agency with a bunch of corporate logos on a Powerpoint?
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What are the Yankees doing with Aaron Judge?
Beyond maddening. The Yankees had all offseason to internally prepare a variety of contract scenarios for Judge, who admittedly presents a difficult case as a franchise player. He’s a top-10 star in all of baseball when healthy, but he’s only played two full seasons and will be hitting free agency after his age-30 campaign. It’s really not the best, but a solution is achievable.
Judge made it clear he’d like a deal done before the start of the season. He said right after the loss to the Red Sox in the ALWC Game that he wanted to remain a Yankee for life. He said it again this offseason during the lockout in an interview with Ryan Ruocco and CC Sabathia. He’s said it again at spring training now … twice.
Now it’s reached the point where the two sides couldn’t agree on a salary for the 2022 season for his final year of arbitration and Judge alluded to the infamous Dellin Betances case where team president Randy Levine berated the reliever in a room for requesting such a high salary.
More malpractice from what’s supposed to be the most renowned franchise in the world. And the hits just keep on coming. The Yankee Way was supposed to be maintaining greatness with those who exemplified performing at a high level and handling the media in the spotlight of all spotlights.
Judge is among the faces of baseball. There’s no reason the wait for him to remain a Yankee beyond 2022 should be taking this long. And the more he has to talk about it, the worse it looks … because all anybody is going to assume is that Hal Steinbrenner and the front office are once again trying to minimize the most possible risk when it comes to their most important player.
All that tells us is that this organization has lost its way.