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Around the Empire: Yankees news - 2/18/22

Aaron Judge would welcome a contract extension; DJ LeMahieu is ready for the season; MLB lockout negotiations continue to go poorly.

MLB: Tampa Bay Rays at New York Yankees Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY Sports

CBS Sports | Dayn Perry: Aaron Judge appeared on the R2C2 podcast and discussed how the upcoming season could be his last as a Yankee. While he still appeared interested in a long-term extension, saying that the allure of playing for New York could overcome the interesting possibilities of free agency, he also seems to have accepted the possibility that his time could be wrapping up. Judge playing out the season as a pending free agent would put his performance and health under even more of a microscope as he plays for a contract, while the Yankees would have to consider how to fill a potential huge hole in their offense. That Judge doesn’t sound negative about an extension at least seems to bode well.

New York Daily News | Kristie Ackert: You can count DJ LeMahieu among those eager for the MLB lockout to end. The infielder’s recovery from sports hernia surgery is apparently going well, and he’s eager to get back into games. Though he joked he only needs “two days” of spring training, he still believes the season could start on time with a shortened preseason. However, he’s unsurprised by the amount of time it’s taking.

ESPN | Jesse Rogers: Speaking of the lockout, the latest negotiating session between the owners and the players’ union on Thursday afternoon lasted all of 15 minutes, suggesting that a deal is getting no closer. The union asked for 80 percent of players with two years of service time to enter the arbitration system, down from their previous ask of 100 percent, which the owners apparently did not react to well. The two sides are obviously still worlds apart from a deal, but the union did tell MLB that they are prepared to meet every day next week to negotiate.