PITTSBURGH — Hal Steinbrenner’s inbox isn’t overflowing with critical issues to address these days.

Still, in the coming weeks, there will be key decisions to make ahead of the August 2 trade deadline.

There’s the lingering issue of Aaron Judge’s impending free agency and the constant reminders that the Yankees haven’t paraded through the Canyon of Heroes since 2009.

But halfway through the 2022 MLB season, the Yankees (58-23) have the best record in baseball, on pace with 116 regular-season wins.

“I knew we had a team capable of great things,” Steinbrenner said, although he couldn’t imagine a historic start. “But it’s a special team.”

Yankee controlling owner Hal Steinbrenner attends a private baseball clinic in London, Thursday, June 27, 2019. The Yankees are hosting around 100 youngsters from the London community in conjunction with the London Meteorites Baseball and Softball Club at this private baseball clinic.  (AP Photo/Frank Augstein)

Here are the highlights from the Yankees general partner’s Wednesday media session midway through the season:

Aaron Judge contract talks

No, Steinbrenner will not provide updates on the status of negotiations to keep his best player in the Bronx beyond 2022.

Yes, “there’s no doubt” Steinbrenner wants Judge to remain on a long-term contract.

“But there are a lot of discussions to be had,” Steinbrenner said, suggesting substantive discussions would take place after the season.

“I totally agree with Aaron…that in no way can it be a distraction,” Steinbrenner said. “The only objective is to win a championship, that’s all anyone needs to worry about right now.”

June 23, 2022;  Bronx, New York, USA;  New York Yankees center fielder Aaron Judge (99) celebrates after hitting a game-winning RBI single in the ninth inning to defeat the Houston Astros 7-6 at Yankee Stadium.  Mandatory Credit: Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY Sports

No regrets on the judge’s offer

At the ownership level, there is no doubt about the “very good” offer that the judge rejected just hours before opening day, nor about the club’s decision to make this offer public.

“We just didn’t get a deal,” said Steinbrenner, who referred to the shorter offseason window due to the MLB lockout. “We had less time but there are no regrets.”

Based on Judge’s MVP-caliber season, those talks would start with a number well above the $30.5 million offered annually by the Yanks throughout the 2029 season.

“Of course, that’s a possibility. But we’ll cross that bridge when we get there,” Steinbrenner said, adding that Judge’s performance and leadership has “been phenomenal” this year.

“He’s a confident guy, who believes in his talent and that’s what you see this year. And we’re all thrilled.”

JAMESON TAILLONDifficult return to Pittsburgh

What will happen at the MLB Trade Deadline?

Steinbrenner suggested the Yankees are weeks away from moving to the war room in Tampa, Fla., and discussing potential trades.

Would the Yankees look to exploit their double-digit AL East lead and make a meaningful deal for a starting pitcher or big outfielder at the cost of big prospects or a spike in payroll above the next threshold? luxury tax?

Broadly speaking, Steinbrenner said if chief executive Brian Cashman presents a deal that could “take us over the top, (if) we’re not where we need to be yet” in his assessment of his operations staff. baseball, “so I’ll think about it.

“I’m hesitant to give up prospects, I always have been. But we’ve done that in the past and all of that will be on the table as well.”

Concerns for Hal Steinbrenner in the future?

Steinbrenner identified the remaining schedule, particularly within the division, and “staying healthy” as two areas of concern.

“But when it comes to individual players, individual positions, we just haven’t talked about all that yet,” Steinbrenner said.

The Yankees’ overall pitching, improving defense and production in the middle of the drive allowed them to overcome lackluster offensive performances from Aaron Hicks and Josh Donaldson and empty production from Joey Gallo.

Joey Gallo of the New York Yankees reacts after blowing up against the Houston Astros in the eighth inning of a baseball game, Saturday, June 25, 2022, in New York City.  (AP Photo/Noah K. Murray)

“He’s getting his way, he has the support of all of us,” Steinbrenner said. “I always expect great things from him.”

Steinbrenner referred to organizational reinforcements on the horizon, such as reliever Jonathan Loaisiga. And the Yanks have potential outfield improvements a level below in Estevan Florial and Miguel Andujar.

What does Hal think of the Houston Astros?

Much like 2017 and 2019, with more controversial clubs, the Houston Astros could stand in the Yankees’ path to a pennant.

“We all have to worry about Houston, they’re a really good team,” Steinbrenner said of a possible October matchup. “It’s going to be a challenge, but it’s going to be a challenge for them too, make no mistake about it.”

And what about the first-place, Buck Showalter-led Mets?

Having two good New York teams at the same time is “a good thing, and I think meeting in the playoffs – I’m all for it,” Steinbrenner said of a possible Subway World Series.