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Around the Empire: Yankees news - 1/17/21

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The Yankees have inquired on Luis Castillo; Brian Cashman will need to get creative to stay under luxury tax, although it might be a pointless goal; a compromise to end the same MLB/MLBPA standoff that we had last year

Wild Card Round - Cincinnati Reds v Atlanta Braves - Game Two Photo by Todd Kirkland/Getty Images

Héctor Gómez | Twitter: Yea, Twitter in the lede story. I said it was a slow news day in the headline, didn’t I?

Apparently the Yankees have re-engaged with the Cincinnati Reds about starting pitcher Luis Castillo, with Clint Frazier and Miguel Andújar being the “key pieces” in a potential return. While the 28-year-old Castillo would be a stellar addition to the Yankees pitching staff — and one of the few pieces that I personally would accept giving up Frazier for — don’t get too excited for it: All-Star starting pitchers with three years of team control do not, generally, come this cheap, and it’s rare for a contender to fill one hole (in this case, in the rotation) by opening another (the outfield). That said, it’s something to keep an eye on.

Joel Sherman | New York Post: Part of the reason the Yankees might be eager to trade for Castillo is the much-reported but never-quite-confirmed desire to stay under the $210 million luxury tax limit in 2021. At the moment, the team stands at roughly $7 million under that cap, and since teams generally leave a few million for in-season acquisitions, that leaves Brian Cashman with virtually no money left on the free agent market. Of course, why the team is so worried about a luxury tax limit that, in all certainty, will be gone after next season after the new Collective Bargaining Agreement, even Sherman cannot say, beyond Hal Steinbrenner’s repeatedly claiming massive losses in the 2020 season.

Ken Davidoff | New York Post: Davidoff opens his article with a fantastic analogy describing the current plan to start spring training on time: “Would you start a baseball game during a monsoon if the weather forecast called for vastly better conditions in the near future? You would not, because you are not silly.” And he’s absolutely correct, as there’s no real reason to get the season underway until more COVID-19 vaccines are distributed and it’s safer to travel. And yet, the league seems eager to fight the same battle it did last year, hoping to slash player salaries by delaying the season, so the players are willing to play in this metaphorical monsoon. Happy Groundhog Day, everybody!