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Around the Empire: Yankees news - 12/18/20

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The Blue Jays look to be players for DJ LeMahieu; Gio Urshela doing good after COVID-19, elbow surgery; don’t believe the owners’ lies; so long, Holder

Division Series - Tampa Bay Rays v New York Yankees - Game Four Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images

NJ.com | Mike Rosenstein: The Toronto Blue Jays have been in contact with all top free agent markets, including George Springer, J.T. Realmuto, Trevor Bauer, and — most alarmingly for Yankees fans — DJ LeMahieu. Although the Blue Jays already have a glut of infielders, incumbent shortstop Bo Bichette has been advocating for a new partner up the middle, calling LeMahieu “the best hitter in baseball, and I don’t even really think it’s close.” While losing their top hitter would already be a major blow to the Yankees, losing him to a division rival would be a nightmare scenario.

NJ.com | Randy Miller: Speaking of Yankees infielders, Gio Urshela has been recovering well in this turbulent offseason, in which he followed up a battle with COVID-19 with surgery on December 4th to remove a bone chip in his elbow. The third baseman, although not committing to a timeline — “I’m going to be ready when I’m ready,” he said — is expected to be back halfway through spring training (assuming a normal spring training, of course). Of course, having a new PlayStation 5 will surely help the time fly for Urshela.

CBS Sports | Dayn Perry: The pandemic-shortened season has caused ownership through Major League Baseball to claim financial hardship, which has almost certainly contributed to the slow winter so far. However, Perry highlights three things that fans should remember when listening to Rob Manfred and the owners complain about financial hardship: with the exception of the Atlanta Braves, MLB teams are not required to open their books, the use of the word “losses” in describing financial hardships is deliberate as it can be used to describe profits lower than anticipated, and that player salaries — and thus, expenses —were down in 2020 anyway. He gets into more detail, but the point is clear: owners lie.

MLB.com | Anne Rogers: Former Yankees reliever Jonathan Holder, who the team non-tendered on December 2nd, has signed a one-year, non-guaranteed contract with the Chicago Cubs. Holder, who has pitched in 157 games across five seasons for the Yankees, posted a 4.38 ERA in 18 games this past season. We wish him well, but like Chasen Shreve before him, we will certainly not miss the stress he gave with his struggle to live up to his name.