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Aaron Judge has made it clear that he wants to be a Yankee for life; will Brian Cashman make that happen?

New York Yankees designated hitter Aaron Judge looks

New York Yankees designated hitter Aaron Judge looks on from the dugout after he scored on a wild pitch during the sixth inning against the Texas Rangers in an MLB baseball game at Yankee Stadium on Wednesday, Sept. 22, 2021. Credit: Kathleen Malone-Van Dyke

In the minutes after seeing the Yankees again fall short in their ultimate quest — to win the World Series for the first time since 2009 — Aaron Judge made his desire for that pursuit to continue quite clear.

"I want to be a Yankee for life," Judge said after the Yankees’ 6-2 loss to the Red Sox on Oct. 5 in the American League wild-card game.

A little more than a month later, his public thoughts regarding the matter had not changed a bit.

"That would be a wish of mine, a goal of mine, to finish my career as a Yankee," Judge said Thursday during an online Q&A with Fanatics. "But you never know what the cards hold. If it was up to me, I’d be a Yankee for the next 10 years, for sure."

The Yankees have a myriad of issues to address this offseason when it comes to the 2022 roster, and Judge’s contract situation doesn’t rank high on that list — on the surface, anyway. Judge, 29, is under contract through next season regardless of whether an extension is reached.

But it’s not a non-issue, either. Judge, entering his final year of arbitration before becoming eligible to hit the free-agent market next offseason, has made his desire clear on multiple occasions: He would like there to be some discussions this offseason regarding an extension.

"I guess you can say that," Judge said in early October when asked if he thought this offseason was shaping up as "crucial" as to whether he will be a Yankee the rest of his career.

Judge, who made $10.18 million in 2021 and who likely will be due a significant increase for 2022 if a long-term deal is not worked out, later said: "I want to be a Yankee for life. I want to wear these pinstripes the rest of my career and represent this great organization and bring a championship back to the city. But you never know what the future holds for you. That's kind of out of my hands."

To a large degree, it is in the hands of Yankees general manager Brian Cashman. When asked last Tuesday if he had sat down with Judge’s representatives, Cashman said: "We have not."

"But, obviously, there’s a lot of time," Cashman said at the annual general managers' meetings. "Right now, I’ve been in human resource mode for the most part dealing with coaching interviews . . . and stuff like that. But all in due time, we’ll clearly have to have a conversation with Aaron Judge’s agent, whether it’s on a one-year arbitration [agreement] or whether it’s a multiyear [deal]. We’ll have to just work through it all."

Whether it be a Judge extension or a major free-agent deal, nothing is likely to be done before a new collective bargaining agreement is reached. The current one is set to expire at midnight Dec. 1 and the industry expectation is that the owners will lock out the players Dec. 2 if a new agreement isn’t reached.

Judge, the most popular Yankee among fans since Derek Jeter, is coming off a season in which he led the team in homers (39), RBIs (98), on-base percentage (.373), slugging percentage (.544) and OPS (.916). Despite missing nine games while on the COVID-19 injured list, he played in 148 games, the most since he appeared in 155 games in his AL Rookie of the Year season in 2017.

Questions about Judge’s durability could keep the franchise from laying out the kind of megadeal it likely will take to extend him, but such a move certainly would be seen in a positive light by a fan base that, at the moment, is fairly irate.

That, of course, is subject to change depending on what kind of budget managing general partner Hal Steinbrenner gives Cashman to work with for 2022.

In many fans’ version of a perfect off-season, they would like to see the Yankees not only land one of the big-name shortstops on the free-agent market — Carlos Correa, Corey Seager, Marcus Semien and Trevor Story are among those — but also work out some kind of long-term deal with Judge.

"There’s no other place I really ever want to play, just based on how the fans have brought me in, embraced me and treated me as one of their own," Judge said Thursday. "It’s incredible, getting a chance to play at Yankee Stadium, that place every night basically being sold out, the fans always having your back. It’s a dream come true."

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