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Around the Empire: Yankees news - 12/30/19

The Yankees almost traded Bernie Williams; Judge is the prospect of the decade; Girardi’s tough call on Raul Ibanez

MLB: Baseball Hall of Fame-Induction Ceremony Gregory J. Fisher-USA TODAY Sports | Brendan Kuty: In 1997, Yankees General Manager Bob Watson agreed to trade Bernie Williams to the Tigers for two prospects before backing out at the last second. The deal was so close to being finalized that there’s an official press release drafted up to announce the trade. The Yankees would have received pitching prospects Mike Drumright and Roberto Duran. Drumright never reached the major leagues and Duran made 31 career relief appearances with a 6.58 ERA. The deal was intended to get a prospect return for Williams, who was set to reach free agency before the 1998 season. He later agreed to a seven-year deal with the Yankees and went on to win the World Series in 1998, 1999, and 2000. | Jim Callis, Jonathan Mayo, Mike Rosenbaum: The team at MLB Pipeline assembled to highlight each MLB team’s prospect development from the past decade. Not surprisingly, they settled on Aaron Judge as the Yankees’ greatest prospect success of the 2010’s. Judge was the 32nd overall pick of the 2013 Draft, the second of three first-round picks in that year’s draft. The Yankees selected Eric Jagielo with the No. 18 pick and Ian Clarkin one pick after Judge. It feels like ancient history at this point, but there were question marks surrounding Judge in the draft. He had obvious power potential, but homered only 18 times in three seasons at Fresno State. The Yankees took a chance on his upside and it paid off in a big way.

New York Post | Ken Davidoff: Everybody remembers Raul Ibanez’s clutch performance in the 2012 ALDS against the Baltimore Orioles, but his heroics would not have been possible without a bold decision by Joe Girardi. In Game Three, Ibanez blasted a game-tying home run in the bottom of the ninth and walked it off with another solo shot in the bottom of the 12th. Joe Girardi called his decision to pinch-hit Ibanez for a scuffling Alex Rodriguez the “toughest decision” he ever had to make in his managerial career. Ibanez also recalls Rodriguez being the first one to greet him in the dugout after his pinch-hit homer in the ninth.