Yankees’ Cashman plans to push ahead on Aaron Judge talks

Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

NEW YORK — Brian Cashman is working on a handshake agreement following his contract’s expiration and will push ahead with talks aimed at re-signing Aaron Judge.

“We’d love to be able to bring Aaron Judge back and have him being able to maintain being a member of this franchise and the path he’s currently on is Hall of Fame-like,” Cashman said at the Yankees’ 13th annual news conference to discuss the path ahead from a season that fell short. “Nothing better than to have him continue to man right field for us and impact us on and off the field the way he has thus far.”

Cashman, the general manager since 1998, and Aaron Boone, the manager since the 2018 season, spoke 12 days after the Houston Astros completed a four-game AL Championship Series sweep of New York. While Houston is one win from its second World Series title in six seasons, the Yankees haven’t reached the Series since winning in 2009 – their longest gap since 1978 to 1996.

Three days after the Yankees were eliminated, owner Hal Steinbrenner told The Associated Press he intended to keep Boone, who agreed in October 2021 to a three-year contract.

“As far as the job security, I’ve never worried about that – ever,” Boone said. “And the reality is last year I signed an extension and so my focus is on putting my steps forward to what’s next.”

Cashman’s five-year contract expired Monday and Steinbrenner is expected to give him a new deal.

“I’d like to stay, but we have had not had any further discussion on that,” said Cashman, who replaced Bob Watson in 1998. “We’re dealing with a lot of other employment stuff with other people, but all in due time. So, we’ll see how that plays out but obviously I’d love to stay, and he’s expressed interest in having me stay.”

Judge is eligible to become a free agent on the day after the World Series and the outfielder can negotiate contract terms with all teams starting with the sixth day after the Series ends.

Ahead of opening day, Judge rejected a contract that would have paid him $213.5 million from 2023-29. He set an AL record with 62 homers, finished tied for the major league lead with 131 RBIs and was second in the AL with a .311 batting average.

“He’s a fan favorite,” Cashman said. “He interacts with our fans extremely well. He’s respected within that clubhouse, goes about his business as good as you possibly can and is an elite performer and one of the game’s best, if not the best player.”

Judge had a $19 million salary this year and the 30-year-old is likely to command a long-term contract worth over $300 million.

“We’ll have certainty the conversations as promised and see where they take us, but he’s put himself in a great position to have a lot of choices,” Cashman said.

Judge has helped drive Yankees revenue, drawing full houses for September weeknight games that usually lag midsummer attendance.

“As George Steinbrenner said, he puts fannies in the seats,” Cashman said. “People want to go watch that guy play, and you want to put great teams on the field that they want to come here to watch compete and win. Certain individual players transcend the team and everything stops when they’re at the bat or they have the ball in their hand. He’s one of those types of talents.”

Boone’s pitching and outfield decisions were questioned during the Division Series against Cleveland and he was criticized by some for pulling Gerrit Cole with the bases loaded in the sixth inning of Game 3 of the ALCS and for letting an injured Nestor Cortes remain in Game 4.

“I think Aaron did a great job,” Cashman said. “I think he’s got a great demeanor, a great rapport with his players.”

Cashman also hopes to retain Matt Blake, who finished his third season as pitching coach.

New York is interested in keeping Anthony Rizzo, who can give up a $16 million salary for next season an become a free agent. New York intends to exercise right-hander Luis Severino‘s $15 million team option.

Other free agents are pitcher Jameson Taillon; outfielder Andrew Benintendi; utility players Matt Carpenter and Marwin Gonzalez; and relievers Chad Green, Miguel Castro, Zack Britton, and Aroldis Chapman.

Benintendi missed the postseason with broken right wrist while DJ LeMahieu was unavailable for the postseason due to a foot injury. New York also went through the postseason without injured relievers Michael King (fractured elbow), Ron Marinaccio (shin), Green (Tommy John surgery), Scott Effross (Tommy John surgery) and Britton (setback following Tommy John surgery).

New bill to build Athletics stadium on Las Vegas Strip caps Nevada’s cost at $380 million

D. Ross Cameron-USA TODAY Sports

CARSON CITY, Nev. — A bill introduced in the Nevada Legislature would give the Oakland Athletics up to $380 million for a potential 30,000 seat, $1.5 billion retractable roof stadium on the Las Vegas Strip.

The bulk of the public funding would come from $180 million in transferable tax credits from the state and $120 million in county bonds, which can vary based on interest rate returns. Clark County also would contribute $25 million in credit toward infrastructure costs.

The A’s have been looking for a home to replace Oakland Coliseum, where the team has played since arriving from Kansas City for the 1968 season. The team had sought to build a stadium in Fremont, San Jose and finally the Oakland waterfront, all ideas that never materialized.

The plan in the Nevada Legislature won’t directly raise taxes. It can move forward with a simply majority vote in the Senate and Assembly. Lawmakers have a little more than a week to consider the proposal before they adjourn June 5, though it could be voted on if a special session is called.

The Athletics have agreed to use land on the southern end of the Las Vegas Strip, where the Tropicana Las Vegas casino resort sits. Oakland Mayor Sheng Thao has said he is disappointed the team didn’t negotiate with Oakland as a “true partner.”

Las Vegas would be the fourth home for a franchise that started as the Philadelphia Athletics from 1901-54. It would become the smallest TV market in Major League Baseball and the smallest market to be home to three major professional sports franchises.

The team and Las Vegas are hoping to draw from the nearly 40 million tourists who visit the city annually to help fill the stadium. The 30,000-seat capacity would make it the smallest MLB stadium.

MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred said a vote on the Oakland Athletics’ prospective move to Las Vegas could take place when owners meet June 13-15 in New York.

The plan faces an uncertain path in the Nevada Legislature. Democratic leaders said financing bills, including for the A’s, may not go through if Republican Gov. Joe Lombardo vetoes the five budget bills, which he has threatened to do as many of his priorities have stalled or faded in the Democratic-controlled Legislature.

Under the bill, the Clark County Board of Commissioners would create a homelessness prevention and assistance fund along the stadium’s area in coordination with MLB and the Nevada Resort Association. There, they would manage funds for services, including emergency rental and utility assistance, job training, rehabilitation and counseling services for people experiencing or at risk of homelessness.

The lease agreement with the Las Vegas Stadium Authority would be up for renewal after 30 years.

Nevada’s legislative leadership is reviewing the proposal, Democratic state Assembly Speaker Steve Yeager said in a statement.

“No commitment will be made until we have both evaluated the official proposal and received input from interested parties, including impacted community members,” Yeager said.