Brian Cashman recently said it didn’t take long for the Yankees to make Aaron Judge an offer once he officially became a free agent.
“We’re on the clock. We’re certainly not going to mess around,” the Yankees general manager said on Nov. 17. “Of course we’ve made another offer. We’ve made offers since spring training.”
According to an ESPN report Wednesday morning, the best of those is the kind of megadeal anticipated in the industry throughout the regular season. Judge has, the report said, an offer “on the table in the neighborhood of eight years and $300 million.”
Though there was no immediate confirmation from either party regarding the report — not a surprise as Judge and his representation entered the free-agent process determined to keep negotiations from playing out in public, a viewpoint made clear to all interested teams — there is little reason to doubt the figure.
Once Judge turned down the Yankees' seven-year, $213.5-million offer just before the start of the regular season — and began embarking on a historic campaign that would see him hit an American League record 62 homers — it was difficult to find anyone in the sport speculating on a free-agent deal that didn’t at least have a “3” in front of it.
The Yankees entered the winter with retaining Judge, who met last week with the team he grew up rooting for, the Giants, as their No. 1 priority.
Managing general partner Hal Steinbrenner, speaking earlier this month at the owners’ meetings in New York, said he has expressed that organizational sentiment in multiple conversations with Judge, at least one of which occurred in person, since the Yankees’ season ended in a four-game sweep to the Astros in the ALCS.
"I just want him to know how I felt, in case there was any lack of clarity or ambiguity," Steinbrenner said. "We have plenty of ability to, and Aaron and I talked about this, to make this happen and still have money to make other things happen.”
It wasn’t too long after Steinbrenner said that the Yankees brought back first baseman Anthony Rizzo, a close friend of Judge’s and significant clubhouse voice, on a two-year, $34 million deal with a $17 million club option in the third year that includes a $6 million buyout.
“My budget for Judge is going to be what I feel we can do,” Steinbrenner said at the owners’ meetings. “It's not limitless, obviously . . . in my opinion, we're going to be able to sign Aaron. That's not going to stop me from signing other people."