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Around the Empire: Yankees news - 11/1/19

Cole’s not messing around in free agency; Yankees decline Encarnacion’s option; Tough decisions ahead for Cashman

MLB: World Series-Houston Astros at Washington Nationals Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

ESPN: The World Series is over, and the Gerrit Cole sweepstakes are underway. Cole, while wearing a Scott Boras hat, made it very clear in his postgame remarks that he’s not committed to the Astros, which comes as great news to their rivals. Many suspect the Angels could be the Yankees’ biggest competition to sign Cole, but with a price tag that could reach $300 million, the pool of suitors could narrow quickly.

CBS Sports | Katherine Acquavella On Thursday, the Yankees announced that they have declined the $20 million team option on Edwin Encarnacion, instead opting to pay his $5 million buyout. Meanwhile, Aaron Hicks underwent a successful Tommy John surgery, the first step in what should be an 8-10 month recovery from a torn right UCL. While Hicks returned from injury to spark the Yankees’ ALCS Game Five win in New York, Encarnacion struggled mightily. The Yankees could try to sign Encarnacion at a lower price, but his .244/.344/.531 2019 slash line is likely enough for him to sign a significant short term deal elsewhere.

New York Post | Dan Martin All eyes were on Cole after Game Seven of the World Series, but the Yankees have a number of important decisions to make in addition to their pursuit of the AL’s best starter. Aroldis Chapman has a couple more days to decide if he’s going to opt out of the final two years of his contract, and the Yankees have to decide if they’ll extend a qualifying offer to Didi Gregorius. In addition, Brett Gardner, Dellin Betances, and Austin Romine will all hit free agency. It seems likely that the Yankees will retain Gardner, but Betances and Romine could both find better offers elsewhere.