How Yankees' Brian Cashman views Giants, other Aaron Judge suitors

How Yankees' Cashman views Giants, other Judge suitors originally appeared on NBC Sports Bayarea

LAS VEGAS -- The terrace where team executives held their media availability on Tuesday at the annual GM Meetings could be reached by a long escalator, which opened up into a massive space filled with nothing but reporters and cameras. When New York Yankees general manager Brian Cashman got off the escalator, he abruptly stopped and waited as reporters jostled for space.

It made sense for Cashman to be right in the center of the room, because he'll be right in the center of this offseason.

Cashman is charged with bringing Aaron Judge back to New York, but he knows the competition will be tough. It includes the Giants, who can offer Judge something that no one else can, a chance to return home and play for his childhood team.

That is expected to be a big factor over the coming months, but on Tuesday, Cashman said he doesn't view the Giants as any different than the others hoping to pry the likely American League MVP away from the only team he has ever known.

"You try to do your best to pay attention to them all but all you can do is take care of what you can take care of, in terms of what you're going to offer and what your aggressiveness and willingness happen to be," he said when asked about the Giants. "We'll put our best foot forward, whatever that happens to be, and we'll either win the day or somebody else will. Hopefully when the dust settles Aaron Judge will choose to remain a Yankee. It'll be a decision he has but he also has earned the right to make a different decision, too."

Cashman spoke during an hour-long session for executives from American League clubs. The National League goes Wednesday afternoon, and Farhan Zaidi and Pete Putila will certainly draw a crowd, as well. They are widely expected to be the Yankees' greatest competition for Judge, although others will be heavily involved.

Coming off a 62-homer season, the superstar can start fielding offers from the 29 other clubs on Thursday at 2 p.m. PT, but free agents of his caliber don't generally sign until the Winter Meetings, at the earliest. This year, the event will be held the second week of December in San Diego.

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Cashman said he has no idea of the timetable for a decision, noting that free agency generally moves slowly for the biggest names but that sometimes a star decides he wants to make a decision right away, as Edwin Diaz did last week in returning to the New York Mets. The Yankees just finished their pro scouting meetings to prepare to woo other free agents, but as the offseason kicks into gear, they still have a clear focus.

"Optimally, if you wave a magic wand, we would secure Aaron Judge and retain him and have him signed and happy and in the fold as soon as possible," Cashman said. "But, as I said (last week) back in New York, he's a free agent and has earned the right to be a free agent so he'll dictate the dance steps."

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