New York Yankees team president Randy Levine called the team's star outfielder Aaron Judge an 'all-time Yankee' during a recent interview, emphasizing the franchise's approach to retaining Judge as his historic 2022 season continues and offseason contract negotiations loom.
After declining a seven-year, $213.5 million contract offer from the Yankees just before this season began, Judge is set to cash in on what has been an incomparable 2022 season:
- He entered Wednesday's double-header against the Minnesota Twins with 54 home runs in 131 games.
- Judge is currently on pace to hit 65 home runs, which would break the American League record of 61 set by Yankees legend Roger Maris in 1961.
Speaking on the New York Post's "The Show" podcast, Levine stressed that the Yankees know both what Judge's worth is and what he means to the team as they try to win the AL East and stop a catastrophic collapse. The Yankees boasted a 15.5 game lead on July 8, but are now only 4.5 games above the Tampa Bay Rays in the division after going 17-26 since the All-Star break.
He also stated that the team would "extraordinarily competitive" as they seek to keep Judge from leaving for a larger payday in free agency:
"We think Aaron Judge is an all-time Yankee. We think he's a great player, beyond a great player. We think he's a great person. That's why we offered him the highest position player contract in the history of the Yankees. I admire him that he went out and took this upon his shoulders and we'll sit down with him and hopefully figure it out. I think there's no question we want him back and no question we value him."
While maintaining that the Yankees want to keep Judge in pinstripes, as team brass has done throughout the year, Levine also cited the added value of playing for the Yankees -- which is particularly important for Judge as he is in the midst of one of the greatest offense seasons a Yankee has ever had.
After losing their Friday and Saturday tilts against the Rays, the Yankees were able to prevent a sweep with a 2-1 victory on Sunday before soundly beating the Twins 5-2 on Monday. Wednesday will see the Yankees play a double-header against Minnesota after Tuesday's game was rained out.