Steinbrenner: Judge extension talks will 'happen soon'

March 16th, 2022

TAMPA, Fla. -- One day after Aaron Judge expressed his desire to discuss a contract extension prior to Opening Day, Hal Steinbrenner made it clear that the Yankees plan to do exactly that.

Steinbrenner said Wednesday that while finishing out the roster for 2022 remains the priority during this shortened Spring Training, the talks with Judge’s representatives will “happen soon.”

“Judge is a very special player right, and a great Yankee,” said Steinbrenner, the team’s managing general partner. “We will be having conversations, I have no doubt, in the weeks to come. [There’s] not as much time per usual to figure out the needs we have, to figure out how to address them. My directive to [Brian Cashman] when the lockout ended was, ‘Let’s focus on the needs; we’ve got Aaron this year, so let’s focus on the needs and who we need to bring in to make this team better.'”

Judge said Tuesday that it would be “ideal” for an extension to be worked out prior to Opening Day, saying he doesn’t want “contract extensions or all that stuff to be a distraction throughout the year.”

“I think that's a pretty normal thing,” Steinbrenner said. “He's got things to focus on. … We've been talking about it. Yes, it's going to happen soon.”

Judge added that he hopes to remain with the Yankees for the duration of his career, though that is no certainty as he enters his age-30 season.

Judge is slated to become a free agent at the end of the season, and while the Yankees appear to have interest in keeping him in pinstripes for years to come, getting a deal done isn’t always as simple as it sounds.

“Our intent would be -- we’d like to have him back if we can,” Cashman said Monday. “Like everything else, just like trades and free agency, you have to be on the same page and common ground. The only way to find out is to have some conversations, first and foremost. Those will happen, and we’ll try to keep it as private as we can. … We’re happy he’s a Yankee, and it’d be great if we could make him a Yankee longer.”