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Around the Empire: Yankees News - 12/17/19

Cole speaks with media for the first time after signing; Yankees bring Warren back; Belt’s name mentioned as a potential acquisition; Didi comes clean about talk with Cashman; Bombers talked to Cubs about Schwarber

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

New York Post | Zach Braziller: After signing with the Yankees for the next nine years, Gerrit Cole finally offered his first words about the pact. He recently arrived in New York for his presentation this week. “What doesn’t excite me? The history, the fans, the city, competitiveness,” he said outside of his hotel. He conceded that the decision to sign for the Bombers was a difficult one. “I just had to be thorough with it,” he explained. When asked whether he will adhere to the franchise’s facial hair policy, he said, smiling, that he “unfortunately will.” | Thomas Harrigan: The Yankees signed old friend Adam Warren for a third time on Monday, this time to a two-year, minor-league deal. The right-handed reliever underwent Tommy John surgery and will rehab with the club. His chances of pitching in 2020 are almost zero. Warren, 32, had a 5.34 ERA in 25 games with the San Diego Padres in 2019. He accumulated a 3.53 ERA in his career. | Joe Giglio: Does the San Francisco GiantsBrandon Belt makes sense for the Yankees as a left-handed bat? The baseball community believes that Belt could hit many home runs outside of spacious San Francisco’s Oracle Park despite the recent decision to move the fences in. He would certainly feast on the Yankee Stadium’s short porch, but he is also expensive ($34.4 million over the next two seasons) and somewhat injury-prone. | Randy Miller Didi Gregorius, who recently signed a one-year deal with the Philadelphia Phillies and was introduced on Monday along with fellow free agent signing Zack Wheeler, told the media that Brian Cashman talked with him only one time after the season ended. The GM said to Sir Didi that Plan A for the Yankees was to sign Gerrit Cole. “Cashman made it loud and clear that Cole was their priority. I think he only called once. That was it and nothing else happened. For me, it was, ‘If that happens, then I have to look for a place to play.’ I was in contact with the Phillies and everything went good and now I’m here.”

The Athletic | Ken Rosenthal (subscription required): The Kyle Schwarber-to-Yankees rumors seem to have no closure in sight. According to Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic, the Bombers have talked to the Chicago Cubs about the outfielder. There has been interest from the Yankees since 2016. However, talks didn’t seem to have any traction. Schwarber, a left-handed hitting slugger, hit 38 homers in 2019. The Cubs are about to pay big arbitration raises in the next two years and that’s why they would consider the idea of trading him.