TAMPA — Gerrit Cole is among the Yankees teammates who have spoken to Aaron Judge about his negotiations with the team as he seeks a long-term extension to avoid arbitration and possibly free agency next offseason.
And Cole knows first-hand what it’s like to be a top target of the Yankees and managing general partner Hal Steinbrenner — and to get what you want.
“I don’t want to speculate [on Judge’s free agency], because there’s this window right here and then at the end of the year [before he hits the market], but I would say when the Yankees want somebody and their back is up against the wall, if Hal wants to get it done, he gets it done,’’ Cole said Thursday at Steinbrenner Field.
With just a week left before Opening Day, Judge said he knows time is running short for him to agree to a long-term extension with the Yankees before talks are shut down by his publicly stated deadline.
“I’m always optimistic, but I know the days are counting down and both sides want to get something done,’’ Judge told The Post on Thursday.
And after seemingly backing off his firm April 7 deadline over the weekend, Judge stated Thursday he hadn’t softened his stance.
“I’m gonna stick with that deadline,’’ Judge said. “I think it’s best for both parties, so they can focus on what they need to do and I can focus on what I need to do, which is on the field. If we’re not close by then, what’s the point of communicating in the season?”
General manager Brian Cashman said on Saturday that Judge would have an offer for an extension by Opening Day.
Both Cashman and Judge declined on Thursday to discuss the details of the talks.
If no deal is struck by then, they’ll go to an arbitration hearing, with Judge seeking $21 million and the Yankees offering $17 million.
In the meantime, Judge is communicating with players past and present about how best to handle the negotiations.
“I’ve talked to a lot of guys, some who are done playing and teammates that have gone through the process — especially with the Yankees,’’ Judge said. “I want to pick their brain about what they went through and how it was to try to get as much information as I can to prepare myself. … It’s kind of like getting a practice test so nothing surprises you.”
Judge said his most recent conversations on the topic came with Cole and DJ LeMahieu, both of whom signed free-agent deals with the Yankees.
Cole said his advice to Judge was simple: “I think when it comes to business, I just encourage people to make the best decision for themselves and their family,” and to keep the emotions from the contract talks away from the field.
That’s what Judge says he’s trying to do.
“This is cool and a fun process and a lot of people helped me along the way to get to this spot,’’ Judge said. “But I’m ready to get it over with.”