Aaron Judge's Juan Soto quote gave hint about how Captain is handling Yankees' future

He's going to keep the pressure on.

2024 New York Yankees Spring Training
2024 New York Yankees Spring Training / New York Yankees/GettyImages

Juan Soto might be with the Yankees for a good time and not a long time. But if Aaron Judge has anything to do with the decision at the end of the year -- and he certainly should -- then there's a good chance this marriage gets extended beyond a single summer.

While it's certainly possible that Soto does end up being a one-year player, as Brian Cashman noted while highlighting the extreme unlikelihood of a mid-year extension, the Yankees' mystique (and, more importantly, their budget expansion) could change all that. Soto, who has Yankee fan family members and appears to already be won over by the Bronx, won't give the Yankees a steep discount ... but, if all offers are nearly equal, it seems clear where he'd like to be.

The team could avoid one hurdle quickly, directly thanks to Judge. After the Yankees' braintrust declined to offer Yoshinobu Yamamoto a contract that exceeded Gerrit Cole's guarantees, a bunch of worriers made the logic leap that they might not want to offend Judge by exceeding his $360 million in a Soto offer.

If that does someday come to light, we'll know it wasn't actually Judge's preference, and instead represents front office excuse-making and chicanery. Judge himself called Soto's single season under contract in pinstripes his "first year here" over the weekend.

That means the Captain's full-court press to keep Soto is on, and he's well aware it'll take more money than he's making to greenlight a second season.

Yankees Captain Aaron Judge wants Juan Soto to enjoy his "first year" in pinstripes

Judge isn't always the jury and executioner when it comes to this front office's decisions, but he does hold sway. When it seemed like he was at least considering a move to San Diego/San Francisco last winter, it was Hal Steinbrenner who closed the deal.

If Soto has a fantastic first year, but the Yankees need a little more coercing to give him what he needs, you can be sure that the Judge/Steinbrenner combination will be handling a good deal of the operations.

If it suits Soto, Steinbrenner even intimated last week that he'd be willing to talk midseason, in case Scott Boras and Co. change their minds.

That remains unlikely, but after the way Boras settled Cody Bellinger's demands over the weekend, sending him where he wanted for far fewer years than anyone anticipated, it's certainly possible Soto will make some alternative directives mid-year. Boras can't be thrilled he was dealt out of San Diego a year ahead of free agency regardless, allowing him to spend a single, glorious year somewhere he feels more enthusiastic and comfortable.

Or, as Judge called it, his "first" year.