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Around the Empire: Yankees news - 12/22/19

So far, Derek Jeter has been on every public HOF ballot; are the Yankees in their own tier in the AL?; Higashioka and Cole played together in high school, apparently.

MLB: Baseball Hall of Fame-Induction Ceremony Gregory J. Fisher-USA TODAY Sports | Randy Miller: So far, 43 of the approximately 412 votes for the Baseball Hall of Fame have been announced, and so far, five players have been tracking at or above the 75% level of the vote required: Derek Jeter, Roger Clemens, Curt Schilling, Barry Bonds, and Larry Walker. Of the former Yankees, so far, Jeter has appeared on all 43 ballots, Clemens on 32 (74.4%), Garry Sheffield on 11 (25.6%), Andruw Jones on 9 (20%), Andy Pettitte on 7 (16.3%), and Bobby Abreu on 3 (7%), while Jason Giambi, Brian Roberts, Eric Chavez, and Alfonso Soriano on none.

New York Daily News | Bill Madden: Yankees fans have understandably been ecstatic about the signing of Gerrit Cole — after all, because of him, they are almost universally considered the pre-season favorites for the World Series. Madden, however, seems more optimistic than most, claiming that nobody within the American League even stands close to the Yankees’ level. Hopefully his bold claims that the Yankees “can report directly to the World Series” proves prophetic, and not a freezing cold take. | Randy Miller: With the departure of former backup catcher Austin Romine and rumored free agent target Martin Maldonado returning to the Astros, it appears that Kyle Higashioka will be penciled in as the backup catcher behind Gary Sanchez. But what most Yankees fans don’t know is that Higashioka will be reuniting with someone he caught during his high school days: new ace Gerrit Cole. Apparently, Highashioka and Cole went to high school only eighteen miles apart, and played together on a few high school All-Star teams.