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Around the Empire: Yankees News - 12/22/20

Yankees payroll dropping to 2005 levels; Cashman doesn’t want to be left scrambling for pitching help; Florial and Medina among top winter league players

MLB: FEB 20 Spring Training - Yankees Workout Photo by Cliff Welch/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images | Mike Rosenstein: DJ LeMahieu cannot be brought up without also mentioning the payroll, and the Yankees’ seemingly strong desire to keep that as low as possible in 2021. Despite Brian Cashman’s insistence that the team is expected to have the highest payroll in the league, it also could be on track to have a payroll closer to 2005, when it eclipsed $200 million for the first time. (At that point, Tampa Bay’s payroll was $30 million; even that thrifty club comparatively inflated to $93 million by 2019.) The Yankees seem poised for another dip in spending, which doesn’t exactly radiate confidence in going into the new season as World Series contenders.

NY Daily News | Kristie Ackert: If the Yankees are to be legitimate contenders in 2021, they will have to bolster the starting rotation. According to Cashman, he doesn’t want to be scrambling midseason for rotation help, instead having his staff solidified by Opening Day. But he also said he wants to be patient in seeing what’s out there, and if he doesn’t see any potential additions that he feels would be good fits, he will go into the season with what the Yankees currently have, which is a bunch of question marks. Personally, the rotation as is sounds like a good recipe to be scrambling at the trade deadline, but we’ll see what happens. | Mike Rosenbaum: Yankees prospects Estevan Florial and Luis Medina were two of the players named among the winter leagues’ top players in the past week. Florial had three multi-hit games for Leones Del Escogido in the Dominican Winter League, and over in Puerto Rico, Medina followed up a strong outing on December 11th for Indios de Mayaguez with an even better one on the 16th — four shutout innings with nine strikeouts, no walks, and just two hits. That’ll play.