Will the Yankees be close to re-signing Aaron Judge?

Aaron Judge has enjoyed the free agency process thus far, receiving a big offer from the Yankees before getting on a plane heading to the west coast. Negotiations can be fun, but when it comes to making a final decision, the reigning AL MVP has made it clear where his priority is.

“For me, I want to win,” Judge said. “I have been very close with the Yankees. We’ve been one game away from the World Series [en el 2017] and we’ve been eliminated in the Wild Card, ALDS, ALDS, throughout the playoffs. So my main goal is to be in a winning culture and a team that is committed to winning. I don’t just want it to be for the rest of my career. I want to leave a legacy in the organization. First and foremost, it is about a winning culture and future.”

The Yankees wasted no time reiterating their desire for Judge to continue in the Bronx for the next decade, extending the slugger an offer — according to ESPN’s Jeff Passan — to eight years and approximately $300 million.

This was all after the club’s owner, Hal Steinbrenner, spoke to Judge on several occasions, including one face-to-face meeting in which he told the slugger: “I want you to be a lifelong Yankee.”

“He’s a very important piece for this team,” Steinbrenner said. “He became an even better leader this year. People gravitated around him. Young people did not take off. Obviously, it’s very important to our fans and it’s very important to my family and the organization.”

Three years ago, the Yankees rocked the baseball world when they agreed to a massive contract with ace Gerrit Cole at the Winter Meetings. Next week, general manager Brian Cashman and his baseball operations team will occupy the halls of the Manchester Grand Hyatt, hoping Judge will accept his invitation to continue playing in the Bronx.

“There’s still work to be done and I’d like to do it with him,” Cashman said. “He’s put himself in a great position to have a lot of opportunities, so we have to give him time to decide. He has to do what is best for him and his family.”

Judge led the majors in runs scored (133), home runs (62), RBIs (131), on-base percentage (.425), slugging percentage (.686), OPS (1.111), OPS+ (211) and total of bases reached (391) in 2022. If he returns to the Bronx, several Yankees — including first baseman Anthony Rizzo and Cuban pitcher Néstor Cortés — have said they believe Judge should be named the team’s first captain since Derek Jeter’s departure.

“I hope Judge comes back, for the good of the game,” Rizzo said. “You see a lot of team icons not get what they deserve. But I think the Yankees will always be there to compete.”

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Will the Yankees be close to re-signing Aaron Judge?