Yankees star outfielder Aaron Judge was asked about his future with the team after another disappointing playoff exit last night.
"I want to be a Yankee for life," Judge said following the Yankees' 6-2 loss to the Boston Red Sox in the AL wild card game. "I want to wear the pinstripes for the rest of my career. You never know what the future holds for you. Whatever happens on the flip side, with contracts and trades that are out of my control."
Judge is entering the final year of arbitration before he turns into a free agent next offseason. He was later asked whether this was an important offseason for his future.
"I guess you can say that," Judge said.
Judge is saying a ton here without saying a whole lot. "Whatever happens with contracts is out of my control" sounds a bit like the Yankees are reluctant to offer a big money contract to their three-time All-Star.
Do I expect Yankees owner Hal Steinbrenner to open the checkbook and re-sign Aaron Judge? I do, largely because he's not the reason the Yankees continue to fall short, but losing Judge would also be a marketing nightmare. A team profiting over half a billion dollars should not let one of the most popular and productive players in the sport skip town, so don't expect his departure anytime soon. Or ever.
Judge eventually spoke on what it's like playing for the Yankees, and his response suggests he's hopeful contract negotiations change course.
"It's an incredible honor," Judge said. "There's no better place to play. I've sacrificed a lot for the team and they've sacrificed in giving me this chance. I want to bring it home here. You never know what the future holds here. We'll see what happens."
Ultimately, the Yankees have a few bucks shedding off their payroll this off-season, which will likely lead to a long-term agreement this winter. Just from a business stand point, Aaron Judge would be smart to continue this Yankees marriage, regardless of wins and losses.
Of course winning is important to him, which is mainly what Judge is saying here. He loves playing for the Yankees, he's made the team a whole lot of money, and now it's time for the team to make him a wealthy man while getting back to that "win first" mentality the Yankees were known for in George Steinbrenner's day.
The face of the New York Yankees should be here until he decides to retire.