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Around the Empire: Yankees News - 12/20/19

Yankees showing interest in Panik;.Cashman isn’t close to finished this offseason; MLBPA files grievance regarding Ellsbury; Bombers one of three teams to pay luxury tax for 2019

MLB: Arizona Diamondbacks at San Francisco Giants Stan Szeto-USA TODAY Sports

SNY | Colin Martin: New York-native Joe Panik is reportedly an infield option for the Yankees going forward. Consistently a low-strikeout, high-contact hitter, Panik could become another project for the analytics staff and hitting coaches. He would offer a left-handed bat to the lineup as well, a concern for some fans as the Yankees prepare for the 2020 season. | Mark Feinsand: The Yankees have officially introduced Gerrit Cole, creating one of the best starting rotations in all of baseball, but the offseason isn’t over yet. The Yankees could still add a pieces into their bullpen, middle infield depth, and possibly a back-up catcher. When asked Brian Cashman stated “Obviously we have a team we’re excited about, but you’re never pencil-down until August 31.” Cole and Brett Garnder will be with the Yankees in 2020, but more moves look to be on the way. Last month the Yankees filed a grievance against Jacoby Ellsbury and his $21 million owed for next season. In the spirit of gift giving, the MLBPA has returned the favor. The Yankees are arguing Ellsbury wasn’t given permission to use an outside facility to rehab his injuries. Decreasing Ellsbury’s salary would help with luxury tax concerns, like how the Mets lowered their payroll by filing a grievance against Yoenis Cespedes.

MLB Trade Rumors | Connor Byrne: The Yankees, Red Sox, and Cubs, are the three teams that will have to pay luxury tax bills for the 2019 season. While Boston and Chicago have been looking for ways to lower their payroll, the Yankees have done nothing but blow by the remaining two thresholds with the signing of Cole. Perhaps they will try to trim costs now: filing a grievance is one way, trading away J.A. Happ is another.