One positive sign: New York Yankees and MVP Aaron Judge are at least talking

NEW YORK – Before he participated in the annual Covenant House Sleep Out to promote awareness of youth homelessness, Brian Cashman received a text from Aaron Judge.

Moments after Judge had captured the AL MVP award Thursday night, the New York Yankees general manager sent a congratulatory text.

Judge responded after his media conference call.

So, there was nothing more substantive than a pleasant exchange between the free-agent slugger and a top Yankees executive.

But for a pinstriped fan base eager for any positive sliver, at least Judge and the Yankees have maintained a cordial conversation.

Offering a message to an agitated Yankees Universe, Cashman said they should know “we’re going to do everything we can to make sure (Judge) stays where he belongs.

New York Yankees outfielder Aaron Judge is a free agent after hitting an AL-record 62 home runs.
New York Yankees outfielder Aaron Judge is a free agent after hitting an AL-record 62 home runs.

AL MVP: New York Yankees' Aaron Judge wins after record-setting season

NL MVP: St. Louis Cardinals' Paul Goldschmidt caps career year with first award

SPORTS NEWSLETTER: Sign up now to get daily Sports headlines in your inbox

“But that’s our opinion.’’

Team Judge is driving this free-agent extravaganza, but the Yankees have put forth an offer since the last one - $213.5 million through 2029 – was rejected on opening day.

“I have no idea where the rest of the industry sits, what those comparisons are,’’ Cashman said of how the new offer registers.

Of greater importance, “we’re on the clock,’’ Cashman said. “We’re certainly not going to mess around.’’

To that end, Judge reacted positively to owner Hal Steinbrenner’s personal pitch.

“I thought that was a great sign,’’ Judge said of Steinbrenner initiating a one-on-one chat, though Judge wouldn’t talk about what, if anything, “moved the needle or not’’ in their discussions.

Earlier this week, Steinbrenner said he told Judge that the Yankees had the ability to get his gargantuan contract done and still spend to improve the club around him.

TOP FREE AGENTS: Ranking MLB's top 87 free agents, from Aaron Judge to Corey Dickerson

Speaking generally, Thursday night, Judge said he wasn’t sure about the pace of his free agency.

“But definitely teams that we talked to, if we’re going to build a winning team, if I can get myself out of the way so that we can kind of move on and add some more pieces … that’s always an advantage for wherever I go,’’ said Judge.

“Once you kind of get into it, it might move fast.’’

Another potential Bronx-leaning factor for Judge is his wish to build “a legacy to kind of live on within an organization.

“So, first and foremost, it’s just about being in a winning culture and a winning future.’’

Cashman said he has “stayed in touch’’ with Judge’s agent, Page Odle, and he has spoken directly with Judge, in tandem with Steinbrenner.

“They know where the New York Yankees stand,’’ Cashman said, leaving it to Team Judge to see what the market bears.

“Whether he won the (MVP) award or not… he’s been our team leader and our best player,’’ Cashman said.

“We definitely do feel the pressure (to sign Judge) and rightfully so. He bet on himself this spring and it really paid off,’’ Cashman said of Judge’s “magic carpet ride regular season.

“There’s still work to be done. We’d like to do that together with him, continuing to pursue that world championship dream."

This article originally appeared on Aaron Judge, New York Yankees at least are talking