The New York Yankees have six All-Stars in Los Angeles for the annual festivities, but, as expected, the majority of the focus has been on AL MVP candidate Aaron Judge, who leads the league in runs scored and home runs after 89 games.
His play has prompted constant questions from the media about his contract situation with the team, which has been well-documented ever since the lockout ended in March.
Judge rejected a seven-year, $213.5 million extension before his self-mandated Opening Day deadline and claimed the next time he would talk to the team was in free agency when he’s doing the same with the league’s 29 other clubs.
But then he seemed to relent a little over a week ago, when a clip of him was played during ESPN’s Sunday Night Baseball broadcast saying that if he and the Yankees could get a deal done before the season ended “that’d be great.”
So what was once a hard deadline is now … not? The truth is, we’ll never know what’s going on behind closed doors. But the Yankees revealed what they offered, and then a report dropped suggesting Judge wanted 10 years and $360 million. Again, no idea what’s true and what’s not.
But Judge saying this in front of just about every media outlet in Los Angeles has confused Yankees fans even further.
Aaron Judge confused Yankees fans with his recent contract comments
"“The money, the contract, has never been why I play this game,” Judge said. “For me, it’s never been about the money. I want to play for the Yankees. I want to be here for a long time.”"
Fair. Understandable. But then if it wasn’t about the money, why wasn’t the team’s seven-year extension offer not sufficient? Why go on MLB Network and talk with Harold Reynolds about how you rejecting the contract isn’t a gamble because you think you’re worth more?
In NO world should anyone suggest Judge doesn’t have a right to seek the most amount of money/value possible, but he just convoluted the story with his candor about how none of it really matters to him … which then makes everyone wonder why this is still serving as a distraction amid the team’s scorching 2022 campaign.
And then there was this!
OK. Color fans fully confused now. Admittedly, Judge has been asked this question far too many times (and ESPN’s Marly Rivera is known for unnecessarily prodding), but was there not extensive preparation to face the music on this stage?
This could be yet another act of relenting on Judge’s behalf following the Yankees-Juan Soto trade speculation. Or it could be Judge attempting to give the team a scare by mentioning, yet again, that he’ll “make the right decision” while alluding to the fact that decision might not include New York. Saying less, especially in the video above, really does let the mind wander after all!
Or … it could simply be Judge’s 1,000th diplomatic answer on the subject since he’s been asked about it relentlessly since last year (and the fifth time over the last two days?). At this point, he’s running out of things to say, but varying the answers as of late is surely confusing fans, especially those who hope he remains a Yankee for life.