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Around the Empire: Yankees News - 1/21/21

Twins sign J.A. Happ; Ivan Rodriguez thinks Gary Sanchez isn’t enjoying baseball lately; possible lefty bats for the lineup; Gerald Williams is running a pro basketball team.

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

NY Post | Dan Martin: The Yankees lost another potential starting rotation piece, but they’re likely not too upset about this one. J.A. Happ has signed a one-year deal with the Twins after a contentious end to his Yankee career, one that included Happ being convinced that the Yanks were skipping his starts to ensure he wouldn’t reach 10 for the season, which would have netted Happ some extra cash. Plus, there was the Game Two fiasco in the ALDS. Now, Happ is Minnesota’s problem, as the Twins will try to unlock the Happ that the Yankees enjoyed down the stretch of the 2018 regular season.

NY Post | Dan Martin: More here from Martin as former Yankee catcher (remember when he was on the Yankees?) Ivan Rodriguez told WFAN that Gary Sanchez doesn’t seem to be enjoying baseball right now, especially after slumping through the entirety of the 2020 shortened season. Maybe Rodriguez can give Sanchez the Benny the Jet speech, and tell Sanchez to stop thinking and just have fun! | Mike Petriello: Michael Brantley has signed back on with the Astros, and while it seems highly unlikely that the Yankees would have pursued him, Brantley represents another lefty bat taken off the table. The Yankees, who logged one of the lowest plate appearance totals by lefty bats last year, could also be losing Brett Gardner, so where can they find a quality lefty hitter? Joc Pederson remains a popular option, and a Didi Gregorius reunion could also help balance the lineup.

NY Times | Scott Cacciola: The Toronto Raptors are currently playing in Tampa Bay, where there is actually another professional basketball team, the Tampa Bay Titans of The Basketball League. What does that have to do with the Yankees? Well, their general manager is former Yankee Gerald Williams, who helps his players balance life as a pro basketball player while also holding down normal day jobs. Williams even helps out at practices and will throw down a dunk every now and then. The Titans only draw a few hundred fans during normal times, but they have a well-known name in the front office!