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Around the Empire: Yankees news - 12/16/20

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LeMahieu remains “number-one priority”; nearly 15 million Americans to lose easy access to affiliated baseball; Levine argues “Yankees letter” should remain sealed; Yanks re-sign Warren

American League Division Series Game 1: New York Yankees v. Tampa Bay Rays Photo by Alex Trautwig/MLB Photos via Getty Images

New York Post | Dan Martin: On a Zoom call, Aaron Boone expressed the sentiment that DJ LeMahieu remains the Yankees’ top priority, in spite of reports that the two sides remain pretty far apart in negotiations. Boone said he wanted LeMahieu to stay in New York for a long, long time.

New York Daily News | Kristie Ackert: This has been an offseason characterized by whispers and rumors exclusively, with no loud moves coming to the front as of yet. Fans have been left to decipher Brian Cashman and Hal Steinbrenner’s words, rather than analyze any actual deals they’ve made. Those words have continued to be sound less than promising, as last week, speaking with the YES Network’s Meredith Marakovits, Cashman said that he did want to re-sign DJ LeMahieu and upgrade the Yankees’ pitching, but that “flexibility” and “viability moving forward” were also key.

FanGraphs | Ben Clemens and Meg Rowley: MLB shrank the minor leagues this season, and here’s the most exhaustive description I’ve seen of all the impacted teams and fanbases. Clemens and Rowley painstakingly provide context for the contraction of the minors, showing where teams have disappeared, and which sections of the population have lost easy access to baseball. For example, they find that nearly 15 million Americans will have lost access to affiliated baseball within 25 miles of their homes. As a refresher, the Yankees have seen their affiliates in Trenton, Staten Island, and Pulaski struck down.

NJ.com | Brendan Kuty: There was continued drama this week regarding the letter sent to the team in 2017 by commissioner Rob Manfred. Earlier this year, a judge ruled the letter should be made public, as he stated that it informed his judgement in a class-action lawsuit brought against MLB by players who felt defrauded by the sign-stealing scandal. President Randy Levine took the stand, and argued that the letter was irrelevant to the suit, and that people only wanted to see it opened because the Yankees generate lots of publicity.

New York Post | Dan Martin: Boone was also asked about Domingo Germán and the Yankees’ rotation in general, and the manager expressed hope that the young right-hander, who missed the 2020 season due to a violation of the league’s domestic violence policy, would be a part of the team in 2021. Germán has struggled in a small amount of action during winter ball. Boone said he was “excited” about the players the team has behind Gerrit Cole, continuing to paint a picture of a club that is rather oddly content with the current state of its rotation.

YES Network | AJ Herrmann: The Yankees have re-signed old friend Adam Warren to a minor league deal. The right-hander spent 2020 recovering from Tommy John surgery. The team actually had signed Warren a year ago, with the intent of seeing Warren rehab and then eventually return in either late 2020 or early 2021. Warren was released in July, but it appears that the plan was to re-sign him all along.