The New York Yankees are gearing up for the beginning of MLB free agency on Thursday. It will be a long offseason process, especially with the futures of stars Aaron Judge and Anthony Rizzo in limbo.

However, the Yankees are taking steps to protect themselves in case their futures lie elsewhere. New York will extend qualifying offers to both Judge and Rizzo, according to Jon Morosi. The qualifying offer is a one-year deal worth $19.6 million.

This move comes on the back of the news that Rizzo opted out of the final year of his contract. The Yankees first baseman, should he accept the qualifying offer, would be considered a free agent signing. New York couldn’t trade him without his consent until June 15, 2023.

Judge and Rizzo have 10 days to make a decision on their qualifying offers. Judge seems unlikely to accept the deal, as the Yankees slugger will make significantly more on the open market.

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If Judge and/or Rizzo were to decline the qualifying offer and sign elsewhere, the signing team will send compensation to the Yankees. The exact compensation is based on where a team is at in revenue sharing.

The Yankees have expressed their obvious interest in bringing back Judge. The slugging outfielder set the American League record for most home runs in a season with 62 round-trippers in 2022.

Judge recently won the 2022 Hank Aaron Award. The MLB gives this award to the top offensive player in each league. St. Louis Cardinals slugger Paul Goldschmidt was the National League recipient.

Furthermore, Judge stands as the favorite to win the American League MVP award. These accolades will surely help his case as he looks to secure the best payday he can this winter.