The Yankees will make an offer to Aaron Judge before opening day

TAMPA — Aaron Judge will receive his extension offer from the Yankees before opening day, Brian Cashman said Saturday — but the outfielder may have withdrawn his April 7 deadline.

“We’re making an offer between now and opening day,” the general manager said before the Yankees lost 10-9 to the Blue Jays at Steinbrenner Field. “We are committed. We’ll make an offer and hear what he has to say and then it’ll be penciled in by opening day.”

Later on Saturday, Richter spoke as if ready to continue the talks beyond opening day.

“I’m pretty sure,” Judge said of the April 7 deadline. “If there are negotiations [after Opening Day]I won’t talk to you [the media] at all about it. We haven’t decided yet, but for now we have.”

The fielder has become the face of the Yankees and the most popular player on the team as he embarks on what may be his last year before free agency and long-term extension either on or near the table. Cashman said Judge’s status within the organization will not affect the team’s negotiation tactics when trying to agree on a contract extension.

Aaron Judge runs Friday at Yankees spring practice.
Aaron Judge runs Friday at Yankees spring practice.
Charles Wenzelberg/New York Post

“We have always tried to approach things with as much information and reasonable arguments as possible [as possible] and see where it takes us,” Cashman said. “In the worst case, we have to [an arbitration] hearing in the regular season. I think all parties hope it’s an extension, for sure. Nobody can promise that.”

Cashman took note of the judge’s comments on Wednesday, when the outfielder said he would not address a potential diversion in negotiations once the season begins.

“He told you that [the media]’ Cashman said.

When asked if that deadline was shared directly with the team, Cashman said, “I don’t know if I’m allowed to say that. It does not matter. Whatever he said through you, I take it at face value.”

And he says he’s prepared for any outcome.

“There are two parties involved in this, and Aaron [said] that he wants that part of things to end before opening day,” Cashman said. “It’s either solved and out of the way, or vice versa, and we’re doing a year [in arbitration] and play it out. … I can assure you that talks ahead of opening day will happen one way or another and we know where we stand when the dust settles.”

The last time the Yankees held an arbitration hearing was in 2016, when they offered Dellin Betances $3 million and the aide countered with a demand for $5 million. The fight got ugly – and public.

“I think our position has always been that the only way we get into a hearing is if we get dragged there,” Cashman said. “That is our position. We do not engage in arbitration where we are trying to get over anyone. We only go when forced to. It’s not like we’re afraid of it, but our history shows we stay out of this arena unless we’re forced to get there. That’s okay too. Let’s see how everything develops.”

Brian Cashman
Brian Cashman

Richter had a similar attitude.

“[Cashman] gave you a pretty good answer,” Judge said. “As far as arbitration goes, that’s how things are going. We go back and forth and maybe agree on something before the court date, and if not, we’ll see you in court.”

The judge is still hoping to avoid that long-term deal scenario after the Yankees filed a $17 million arbitration number and his stock countered with $21 million.

“I want to be here,” said Judge. “Definitely we can wrap that up and I can play here for a few more years, that would be great. When it happens, it happens. If not, I’m not too concerned.”

He insisted the uncertainty didn’t affect him on the field.

“I’m a baseball player,” Judge said. “I’m going to come in here and do what I have to do on the field. If I take care of my duties on the field, everything else will work out.” The Yankees will make an offer to Aaron Judge before opening day


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