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Around the Empire: Yankees news - 12/15/20

Bombers and LeMahieu more than $25 million apart in negotiations; Yanks sign Matt Bowman; New York’s five best pitching seasons

Division Series - Tampa Bay Rays v New York Yankees - Game Four Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images

NJ Advance Media | Brendan Kuty: DJ LeMahieu is, pretty clearly, the man of the moment in the Yankees universe. Well, you know that since he appears on the news almost every day. He was a vital piece of the Bombers’ lineup the last couple of years but is now a free agent. On Friday, Bob Nightengale reported that he wanted a five-year, $100 million contract while the Yankees were offering four and $75 million. Kuty is now reporting that a source of Nightengale’s report told him that the gap between the two parties is more than $25 million and that while “the years are right,” the money is “wrong.” Other teams may be starting to have increased chances of landing the talented infielder.

MLB Trade Rumors | Connor Byrne: LeMahieu remains unsigned, but the Yankees did make one small transaction late on Monday, signing reliever Matt Bowman to a minor league contract for two years. The 29-year-old righty has posted fine numbers in his four seasons with the Cardinals and Reds, notching a 105 ERA+ in 183 games since the start of 2016. However, he had Tommy John surgery in September, so he’s unlikely to make any kind of impact for the Yankees until 2022. | Bryan Hoch: The Yankees are the biggest franchise in Major League Baseball, and through the years, we have seen incredible performances by some of the best pitchers in the world wearing pinstripes. Hoch lists the top five seasons by Yankees’ hurlers: four from well-known aces and one from the greatest reliever to ever play the sport.

Boston Globe | Peter Abraham: Last week, the Boston Red Sox took Yankees prospect Garrett Whitlock in the Rule 5 Draft. Now healthy after undergoing Tommy John surgery in July 2019, the righty told the Boston Globe that he is “extremely excited” to continue his pitching career. “It’s kind of crazy to go from being with the Yankees for four years to the Red Sox. But I’m glad to get the opportunity.” Best of luck to Whitlock in his future (just not in appearances against the Yankees).

FanGraphs | Jay Jaffe: Former Yankees slugger Gary Sheffield has a perennially fascinating case for the Baseball Hall of Fame, and Jaffe’s examinations are always must-clicks for not only the long looks at a candidate’s career, but also for the analysis of Cooperstown worthiness. Sheffield’s powerful bat is what carries his case, and if that’s good enough to get DH Edgar Martínez into the Hall, then perhaps it should be good enough for Sheff, too.