New York Yankees owner Hal Steinbrenner values his relationship with slugger Aaron Judge and asks the new captain about various team-related issues, such as possible renovations of the team's spring training facility. Recently, he picked Judge's brain about Anthony Volpe, the dynamic prospect who is competing to be the team's shortstop.

"I've heard from other players, including Aaron Judge, that [Volpe] conducts himself in a very professional way for somebody his age," Steinbrenner said Wednesday morning, "and that's good, because he's going to need all of that, to play where we play."

Judge famously turned down the Yankees' offer of $213.5 million last spring before he had one of the most productive seasons of all time, breaking the AL record of 62 homers. After the season, Steinbrenner got personally involved in the negotiations with Judge — and, as Judge neared his decision, Steinbrenner increased his offer from $320 million to $360 million in an overnight call with the Judge. And he named Judge to be the franchise's first captain since Derek Jeter.

"Judge and I have a good relationship," Steinbrenner said. "I asked him about a lot of things. We're getting ready to look at some renovations of [the spring training] stadium, he's involved with that. Yes, I ask him about different players."

Steinbrenner also addressed the team's recent wave of injuries; the Yankees' payroll; and the spike in salaries for the high-end free agents. In light of the offseason deals for superstar players such as Judge, Steinbrenner offered an amendment to his years-old statement that you shouldn't have to have a $200 million payroll to win a World Series. The more appropriate context in this era, Steinbrenner suggested through a wry smile, is that you don't need a $300 million payroll to win a championship. The Yankees' projected payroll is just shy of $300 million.