Sportress of Blogitude

Aaron Judge not focused on potential contract extension with Yankees

Aaron Judge understands negotiations with the New York Yankees on a contract extension are on the horizon. The slugger just believes there are more important things that should command his focus at this time.

Judge told reporters this week as spring training gets underway for the Yankees in Tampa, Fla., that no extension talks occurred between himself and the team during the offseason.

However, Judge insisted the lack of contract negotiations did not bother him, as he believes both he and the team had their respective sights set elsewhere.

“I think they had more important things to focus on this offseason, especially getting back DJ (LeMahieu), getting back (Brett Gardner), adding some special arms,” Judge said, as transcribed by NJ.com. “Our time is coming down the road. It’s something I don’t really want to focus on right now. I’m focused on trying to win and that’s it. Just do my job and like I said, they’ve got other things to focus on right now, things that are going to help us be a better team.”

It merits noting that Judge will play on a $10.18 million contract in the 2021 MLB season. The two-time All-Star also has one year remaining of arbitration eligibility.

Whenever contract talks do indeed occur between the Yankees and Judge, one thing that could potentially complicate any long-term deal is the superstar’s inability to put together a season where he remains mostly healthy.

Injuries led to Judge playing in 112 games in 2018 and only 102 in 2019 following an impressive debut in 2017 when he led the American League in home runs, won the AL Rookie of the Year award and came in second in AL MVP voting.

Then in the pandemic-compromised 2020 season, a cracked rib and a punctured lung short-circuited his spring training. Judge ended up playing in only 32 regular-season games in MLB’s truncated 60-game schedule due to a Grade 1 right calf strain.

Judge, however, alluded to shaking up his offseason routine in November, saying his goal was to figure out how to put his chronic injury woes behind him.

Earlier this month, Eric Cressey, the Yankees’ director of player health and performance, stated that Judge and fellow injury-plagued slugger Giancarlo Stanton dramatically changed their offseason approaches in the hopes that 2021 won’t be marred by setbacks and lengthy absences from the lineup.

Now with Opening Day a little more than one month away, it’s time to see if Judge’s revamped offseason regimen will pay off.