Judge is ‘all-time Yankee,’ team president says

Sports

As Aaron Judge continues his pursuit of home run history, the New York Yankees continue to prepare for their offseason contract negotiations with the superstar outfielder.

Team president Randy Levine said during a recent interview that Judge is “an all-time Yankee” and emphasized that the franchise “will be extraordinarily competitive” in its approach to keeping the MVP candidate in pinstripes.

“We know his worth and what he means,” Levine said on “The Show” podcast. “I don’t know what’s in his mind. All we can do is show him how much we’d like him to remain a Yankee.”

Judge declined the Yankees’ seven-year, $213.5 million extension offer earlier this year and figures to land a more lucrative deal thanks to his potentially record-setting 2022 season. The four-time All-Star belted his MLB-leading 55th home run Wednesday in a 5-4 win in 12 innings against the Minnesota Twins.

Judge, who also leads the majors with 118 RBIs, broke the Yankees’ single-season record for homers by a right-handed hitter, eclipsing Alex Rodriguez’s 54-homer season in 2007. Judge entered Wednesday on pace to hit 65 homers, four more than Yankees star Roger Maris’ American League record in 1961.

“We think Aaron Judge is an all-time Yankee,” Levine said. “We think he’s a great player, beyond a great player. We think he’s a great person. That’s why we offered him the highest position player contract in the history of the Yankees.

“I admire him that he went out and took this upon his shoulders and we’ll sit down with him and hopefully figure it out. I think there’s no question we want him back and no question we value him.”

The Yankees have repeatedly stated throughout the year that they want to keep Judge, and Levine echoed those sentiments during the interview.

“There’s no issue about, ‘Do we want Aaron Judge back?'” Levine said. “There’s no issue [with] ‘how much we value him.’ It’s a negotiation. What we’ll talk about with him and his representatives in the offseason is, ‘How do we keep him?’ And then it will be up to him to see, does he want to stay here [or] does he want to go someplace else? Is somebody offering him a better deal?”

Levine also added that regardless of what offers Judge receives from other teams, he believes there is added value to playing for the Yankees.

“Like with all free agents, being a Yankee is really important,” Levine said. “It brings a lot that, maybe, a lot of other locations don’t. Now we’re talking about the home run chase with Babe Ruth and Roger Maris — two Yankees.”

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