Yankees GM Brian Cashman at Yankee Stadium on Nov. 4.

Yankees GM Brian Cashman at Yankee Stadium on Nov. 4. Credit: Newsday/J. Conrad Williams Jr.

SAN DIEGO — The least surprising move of the Yankees’ offseason occurred on Monday.

The organization announced that Brian Cashman had agreed to an extension to remain as general manager, a position he’s held since 1998.

The club said Cashman, 55 — who has been with the franchise since 1986, when he came aboard as an intern at the age of 19 — signed a four-year extension. The dollar figure was not immediately known.

Cashman’s five-year, $25 million contract expired Oct. 31, but there was never any real doubt he would be retained.

Even with the expired contract, Cashman was given the go-ahead by managing general partner Hal Steinbrenner to conduct business as usual, an indication a reunion was inevitable.

At last month’s owners’ meetings in New York, Steinbrenner had said: “I think he’s one of the better GMs in the game. I’m not saying there’s going to be a change there, but we do not have an agreement at this point.”

“It was something we got done rather quickly,” Cashman said Monday.

Among the business conducted by a contract-less Cashman was re-signing first baseman Anthony Rizzo to a two-year, $34 million deal with a $17 million club option in the third year that includes a $6 million buyout, as well as engaging free agent Aaron Judge’s representatives in contract talks the Yankees hope will keep him in pinstripes the rest of his playing career.

“We’d love to have our player back,’’ Cashman said. “We’d love to be able to continue to call him our player every step of the way as he follows what looks like, as long as nothing happens, a career path right to Cooperstown.”

Bringing back Judge, coming off a 2022 season in which he hit an American League-record 62 homers en route to a landslide win in capturing AL MVP honors, has been Cashman’s top offseason priority. “If you could wave a magic wand, we would secure Aaron Judge and retain him and have him signed and happy in the fold as soon as possible,” he said last month.

Cashman acknowledged Monday that because of the dollar figures involved with a potential Judge contract — the industry expectation remains that the final total will be north of $300 million — the rest of his to-do list is somewhat “on hold” until the outfielder makes a decision.

But Cashman said he won’t try to force Judge’s hand, either.

“We’ve not put any timeframe on him out of respect for the position he’s earned himself in free agency,” he said. “I understand the longer things go, the more at risk you are . . . but I just don’t want to play the game of ‘take this’ or ‘I need to know now’ and risk what comes from that. I’m not doing that to this player. He’s too important to us to try to mess with like that. He’s got a lot of leverage. He’s earned that right.”

There has been much speculation that a decision could come during the winter meetings here, and among the unconfirmed rumors swirling about Monday was that Judge, who attended Monday night’s Buccaneers-Saints game in Tampa, is scheduled to arrive in San Diego on Tuesday.

Judge’s possible presence here — Cashman said, “I have nothing set up with him tomorrow” and added that in a conversation with Judge’s agent Monday, “that didn’t come up that he was coming here” — could be an indication a deal is close. But it also could mean Judge intends to meet with other interested teams. Or the rumor could be false.

Judge is known to have met with two clubs — the Yankees and the Giants, the team the California native grew up rooting for — but additional clubs could enter the fray.

“We’re still talking,” Cashman said of conversations between himself and Judge’s agent, Page Odle. “I can tell you that we are negotiating hard. I can tell you Hal’s putting his money where his mouth is. He told our fan base he was going to make every effort to sign this player. Doesn’t guarantee anything . . . I just know we’re putting our best foot forward. We feel we have a lot to offer, both financially as well as the culture and what we do on a consistent basis. He’s a big part of this team currently and we hope it remains that way.”

Major League Baseball loves big deals, whether it be trades or free-agent signings — such as the one the Mets completed for Justin Verlander or the Phillies’ massive outlay for Trea Turner on Monday — to take place during its headline winter event as it keeps the sport in the news cycle. An announcement this week regarding Judge, the top free agent on the market, certainly would fit that category.

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