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Around the Empire: Yankees news - 4/7/19

The real reason the Yankees didn’t sign Manny Machado or Bryce Harper; Club signs prospects by promising college tuition; Babe Ruth’s 587-foot home run; Injury updates bring some good news; Hitting coach Marcus Thames bothered by strikeout record.

Yankees General Manager Brian Cashman values clubhouse chemistry over analytics.
Yankees General Manager Brian Cashman values clubhouse chemistry over analytics.
Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

WFAN | Sweeny Murti: Murti interviewed Bob Klapisch, co-author of Inside The Empire: The True Power Behind the New York Yankees. Klapisch revealed the real reason the club didn’t sign Manny Machado or Bryce Harper. Although the team’s analytics people “loved both players” and felt that “there was no one else out there who could provide the run production that these guys can,” Brian Cashman was too concerned about the negative effect on the clubhouse.

The Yankees didn’t “buy into” Harper at the cost or contract length he was looking for, said Klapisch, and “there was even less interest in Machado.” The Yankees didn’t want “a player of that stature” without a guarantee that he was “going to play hard every day.”

Klapisch said he knew early in the offseason that the Yankees weren’t going to go after either Harper or Machado, and cited Cashman himself as the source of all this insight. The entire 35-minute interview is worth a listen, as the two reporters discuss the Yankees “by far outspending other teams on player development,” and that they are training teenagers from Latin American countries not just to be MLB players, but to be New York Yankees. Since most of these kids won’t make it past Double-A, the Yankees “tie the knot by promising tuition paid for a college education” when they go back to their home country. Murti and Klapisch credit Cashman with the Yankees having become “progressive and enlightened.” (The exchange about Machado and Harper begins at 28:23.)

MLB Cut 4 | Matt Monagan: A plaque marks Babe Ruth’s 587-foot home run at Plant Field in Tampa. The Bambino belted the mammoth blast during an exhibition game on April 4, 1919, while still a member of the Red Sox. The author notes that the plaque exaggerates the distance by about 35 feet. A 552-foot homer is still ridiculous, and something I would love to witness.

New York Daily News | Kristie Ackert: Ackert provides updates on the injured Yankees. CC Sabathia (angioplasty) will pitch for High-A Tampa on Sunday, and is slated to re-join the big-league club when the Yankees return to the Bronx following the current six-game road trip. Dellin Betances (shoulder impingement) will likely follow soon, as the star reliever threw his second bullpen without issue on Thursday and is scheduled to face live hitters on Monday.

Miguel Andujar (torn labrum) took grounders Saturday and may begin throwing in a week. Giancarlo Stanton (biceps strain) and Troy Tulowitzki (strained calf) are with the team on the road trip, but neither have begun rehab activities. Aaron Hicks (lower back pain) had two days of throwing without issues. Luis Severino (rotator cuff) has not progressed to getting back on the mound, and on Thursday the Yankees extended his long-toss program.

New York Post | Dan Martin: Hitting coach Marcus Thames was bothered when the Yankees set a franchise record by striking out 18 times in a nine-inning game. “We’ve got to shorten up and put the ball in play,” Thames said.