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Around the Empire: Yankees news - 2/2/2020

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Bryant trade rumors increase after grievance; pair of free agent relievers off the board; spring training battles to watch out for

St Louis Cardinals v Chicago Cubs Photo by Nuccio DiNuzzo/Getty Images

CBS Sports | Matt Snyder: Kris Bryant lost a grievance against his current employer, the Chicago Cubs, over an additional year of arbitration eligibility. The added year that the Cubs ensured has only increased speculation that the team will trade Bryant this offseason, and the Yankees could be a dark horse contender for his services. The Yankees already completed their offseason goals when the signed Gerrit Cole, but if Bryant could fall into their lap as well it would be the cherry on top.

Fangraphs | Brendan Gawlowski: The free agent market is still moving, even though most of the largest contracts have been given out. A couple of deals went down recently, with relievers Pedro Strop and David Phelps inking one-year deals with the Reds and Brewers, respectively. This is significant to the Yankees because after losing Dellin Betances to a one-year deal, the team could’ve been in on some of these small signings to replace his spot in the bullpen. Instead, it seems like New York is comfortable with the in-house options entering the year. | Randy Miller: Speaking of entering the year, the Yankees will have a couple of competitions going on in spring training when camp opens. While the 26th man and fifth starter jobs will be the most focused on, perhaps the most open competition is who will be filling in the back half of the ‘pen. There are several spots open, but it’ll be a wide cast auditioning for the roles including several of the candidates that miss out on the final starter position.