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Yankees team owner talks Aaron Judge contract negotiations, felt good about offseason offer

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New York Yankees team owner Hal Steinbrenner defended the extension offer made to Aaron Judge at the beginning of the 2022 season, which the slugger declined.

Judge turned down an eight-year contract worth $230.5 million to $234.5 million and was reportedly looking for a nine-year deal worth around $319.6 million. Judge set an arbitrary deadline of opening day — April 8 — and said he wouldn’t talk about the contract until after the season.

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Since then, Judge has been on an absolute tear increasing his value. Going into Wednesday’s game against the Pittsburgh Pirates he was leading the majors in home runs (29) and runs scored (64) with the All-Star break looming. He was on a pace rivaling Babe Ruth, Mickey Mantle and Roger Maris.

New York Yankees owner Hal Steinbrenner stops to talk to the media before attending a meeting of Major League Baseball’s executive committee on May 18, 2016, in New York.
(AP Photo/Kathy Willens, File)

Steinbrenner, speaking with reporters, said he understood the outfielder’s value.

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“Aaron is a great Yankee, and he’s very valuable to this organization. He’s a great leader. Obviously, he’s performed extremely well this year, which we’re all thrilled about. So, look, any great Yankee, yes, it’s something we’re going to be looking at and talking about seriously. It means a lot to the organization. Nobody’s going to deny that,” Steinbrenner said.

New York Yankees' Aaron Judge hits a double in the sixth inning in the first baseball game of a doubleheader against the Cleveland Guardians, Saturday, July 2, 2022, in Cleveland.

New York Yankees’ Aaron Judge hits a double in the sixth inning in the first baseball game of a doubleheader against the Cleveland Guardians, Saturday, July 2, 2022, in Cleveland.
(AP Photo/David Dermer)

“We made an offer that I feel was a very good one. It was based on the numbers, of course, but it was also based in part as what he means to this organization. It was a combination of both. And we just didn’t get a deal done. We had less time, of course, this offseason than we would normally because of lockout and all. But there’s no regrets. We’re going to be having discussions at some point.”

Judge agreed to a one-year deal to avoid arbitration.

He’s been a major reason why the Yankees are the best team in the league with a 58-23 record.

New York Yankees' Aaron Judge, second from right, stands in the dugout during the second inning of the team' baseball game against the Pittsburgh Pirates in Pittsburgh, Tuesday, July 5, 2022. The Pirates won 5-2. 

New York Yankees’ Aaron Judge, second from right, stands in the dugout during the second inning of the team’ baseball game against the Pittsburgh Pirates in Pittsburgh, Tuesday, July 5, 2022. The Pirates won 5-2. 
(AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)

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Steinbrenner identified the Houston Astros as a big competitor for American League supremacy and wouldn’t be against playing the New York Mets for a second Subway World Series.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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