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Around the Empire: Yankees news - 2/20/17

Niese signs MiLB deal; Gardner is longest-tenured Yankee; MLBPA boss talks Betances/Levine; Frazier’s hair is long but compliant

Pittsburgh Pirates v Seattle Mariners
“Hey so, what’re the Yankees like?”
Photo by Stephen Brashear/Getty Images

MLB Trade Rumors | Mark Polishuk: The Yankees have agreed to a minor league deal with veteran lefty Jon Niese. The deal is pending a physical, but Niese is viewed by the team as both a starter and a reliever. A long time staple in the Mets’ rotation, Niese spent the first half of last year with the Pirates after ultimately being traded back to the Mets. Niese is coming off of arthroscopic surgery on a torn left meniscus, but can possibly provide Joe Girardi with another lefty option out of the pen in addition to Aroldis Chapman and Tommy Layne.

New York Daily News | Mike Mazzeo: Brett Gardner is officially the longest-tenured player on the Yankees. In what has become a yearly tradition, Gardner was the subject of many offseason trade talks but as always finds himself back with the Yankees for spring training. Gardner says that he doesn’t want to be traded and wants to stay with the team, but is flattered by the fact that teams would be interested in trading for him. With an influx of youth on the team, and most of the older veterans off the team, Gardner now finds it on himself to provide leadership.

CBS Sports | R.J. Anderson: Yesterday we saw that Rick Shapiro, an MLBPA executive, didn’t take kindly to Randy Levine’s words about Dellin Betances. Now Tony Clark, the executive director of the MLBPA, has also weighed in and unsurprisingly he also took issue with Levine. Clark called Levine’s comments “unprofessional” and said that their response “should not have happened in the fashion that it did.”

New York Daily News | Mike Mazzeo: When the Yankees traded Andrew Miller to Cleveland last year the centerpiece of the return was Clint Frazier and his glorious hair. It remained to be seen how much of his Frazier would have to cut off, but it seems like he’s still able to keep it long while still complying with the Yankees’ personal appearance policy. Also noteworthy is that Jacoby Ellsbury still hasn’t reported to camp because his wife is having a baby. Ellsbury is expected to arrive on Monday night and join camp either Tuesday or Wednesday after taking a physical.