How does Aaron Judge affect the Yankees’ off-season, free agent plan?

Superstar Albert Pujols is set to sign a giant contract with the Los Angeles Angels in St. Louis Cardinals shocked the baseball world, agents remember New York Yankees general manager Brian Cashman praising and predicting the Cardinals’ front office discipline. — rightly — the decision will be long-term in St. That it would benefit Louis.

That perspective may be important now, as Cashman and his boss, Yankees owner Hal Steinbrenner, find themselves in a similar position to the Cardinals at the time. The Yankees’ best and most popular player, Aaron Judge, has reached free agency, and just like St.

For perhaps the first time in the Yankees’ storied history, the player has more power than the team. Despite all their financial strength based on their enduring popularity among Yankees fans who have grown weary of the team’s postseason struggles in recent years, the Yankees may need the player more than the player needs them.

The Yankees offered Judge $213.5 million over seven years in the spring; that would make Judge the second highest paid outfielder in the majors behind Mike Trout – and in keeping with his habit in negotiations, Judge said no. There were no counter offers, no more trades. Just no.

Judge took that enormous risk to the season, booing at Yankee Stadium earlier in the year and then breaking out, declaring it arguably the best season of any player since baseball began steroid testing. He batted 62 homers, an American League record, and nearly single-handedly saved the Yankees from a humiliating slump in the second half. After the All-Star break, Judge hit .349 with .502 base percent and .785 slow percent, while the rest of the Yankees combined for numbers similar to those of the Pittsburgh Pirates.

Cashman acknowledged towards the end of the season that Judge’s bet on himself would pay off, and the Yankees’ bid for Judge this off-season is higher than what was tabled this spring. But it’s possible that another franchise might come up with a deal far beyond what the Yankees are willing to pay, and some agents don’t believe it will significantly change the advice Cashman gives to his boss.

One agent said Cashman was “insensitive in these situations”. “They made their assessment of the market value… [of Judge]and they will not deviate much. Now, ownership can come into play, and then emotion can be involved.”

There are those within the Yankees organization who think Steinbrenner is willing to go after the Judge in a way Cashman isn’t. Hal is constantly compared to his father, George Steinbrenner, whose impetuous and sometimes reckless aggression led the Yankees to championships in the 1970s, bottom of the standings in the ’80s, and a dynasty after being banned from baseball for a while. in the 90s. Hal Steinbrenner was booed at Yankee Stadium last summer—like his father at times—and as an industry acquaintance put it, “He hears that and it hurts.”

Steinbrenner has personally invested in pursuing Judge, speaking to the outfielder multiple times since the end of the season.

But historically, the Yankees’ handling of the stars has been remarkably disciplined, with the front office working with the tacit confidence that the series will evolve beyond the departures of even the biggest names. Babe Ruth suffered a marked decline in 1934 and was released at the age of 39; Ruth signed with the Braves and played for part of the 1935 season. At the end of the 1951 season, the Yankees made it clear that they preferred the rising Mickey Mantle, and Joe DiMaggio announced his retirement at 37. Reggie Jackson won the Mr. October title for his explosive performance in the 1977 World Series, but the Yankees almost spurred future Hall of Fame removal after the 1981 season; Jackson would play another six seasons with other teams. Derek Jeter’s camp sought a raise for the Yankees captain after the 2010 season, and instead, Believing Jeter had nothing close to the market value he was after, Cashman encouraged the centre-back to test the market; Jeter received a salary cut of about 35% after tough negotiations that affected the relationship between the player and the team.

Robinson Cano was the game’s second-best baseman in 2013, and when the Seattle Mariners offered $240 million over 10 years – well beyond where the Yankees wanted to go – Steinbrenner followed Cashman’s advice and did not follow Seattle’s offer.

It is not yet clear whether Steinbrenner will follow the same path for Judge. And for now, the Yankees have to wait to see if Judge’s past refusal of offers is actually due to his preference to play elsewhere. The judge met with the Giants for two days last week, and one evaluator said for the Yankees it must be like seeing an unseen girlfriend on a date with someone else: unbearable.

The Yankees picked Judge about a decade ago, and as he moved up to the majors and flourished in the minor leagues, the staff came to know him. In 2017, they saw his explosive debut in the major leagues, his development as a leader, his frustration with his injuries, and the growing understanding that he can be an effective player without the daily habit of repeating. They saw that he dealt with difficulties skillfully and began to admire him as a teammate. Still, throughout the contract negotiations, the Yankees aren’t quite sure what Judge wants for his future.

And because their choices seem so incomprehensible, the Yankees are considering the rest of the field as well. Representatives who have been in contact with the Yankees this season anticipate that if it turns out that Judge will sign the Giants or another team, Cashman and Steinbrenner will quickly return, just as the Braves did when their negotiations with Freddie Freeman broke down. ; Within 48 hours of Atlanta’s last meeting with Freeman’s agent, he traded Oakland for first baseman Matt Olson and signed an eight-year contract with the slugger. According to industry sources, the Yankees spoke internally about alternatives should Judge leave. “[Cashman] If they weren’t prepared for this eventuality, they wouldn’t be doing their job,” said one agent.

The best hopes in the Yankees organization are short centre-backs, Anthony Volpe and Oswald Peraza, but if Judge leaves, the Yankees will more seriously investigate the best-in-class free agent veteran group of shorts available – Trea Turner, Xander Bogaerts, Carlos Correa and Dansby Swanson . Bogaerts and Turner may be best-suited candidates for New York because of the flexibility that each would immediately provide should Volpe or Peraza graduate to major league level full-time shorts.

The 30-year-old Bogaerts could play a short stop for the Yankees in 2023 and could move up to third or second place in subsequent seasons as Volpe and/or Peraza rise. The Bogaerts would add more touch and stability to the Yankees’ roster – he’s taken .304 hits with 215 extra bases in the last four seasons – and will likely come in at a lower price than Turner or Correa. Any anxiety about Bogaerts’ transition to New York’s busy market can be alleviated given his vast experience playing in Boston.

Turner, 29, is an outstanding athlete who has demonstrated positional flexibility by playing midfield and second base in the majors; There is little doubt among evaluators that he can easily move to another position as he gets older. And he’s a dynamic offensive player: He had a total of 304 bases for the Los Angeles Dodgers last season, 194 innings (64 extra innings), 101 runs and 100 RBIs. He’s an elite base stealer with 230 steals in 272 tries in his career, a skill even more enviable as MLB limits pick shots next season.

The Yankees may also follow free agent outfielder Andrew Benintendi and a starting pitcher as they try to strengthen an arena that was destroyed by injury at the end of last season. Judge will continue to strive for the organization’s first championship since 2009, whether next season Yankees pinstripe or not; There is no talk of a major reset, no talk of rebuilding. Gerrit Cole, 32, who has the team’s most expensive contract, is a front-line starting shooter with Nestor Cortes, Luis Severino and good bullfighters behind him.

Strong organizational preference is to retain Judge, but some seasoned agents expect Cashman to accept the challenge of building the team without his core superstar. If the Giants or any other team is inspired by Judge’s record-breaking season, talent and stardom and makes a huge offer, Cashman and Steinbrenner will be faced with a tough decision. Whichever direction they land, the election will say a lot about the Yankees and their direction.

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