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Around the Empire: Yankees news - 1/5/21

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The rundown on Masahiro Tanaka; An argument for a Didi Gregorius reunion; A Yankees prospect who turned heads at the alternate site

Division Series - Tampa Bay Rays v New York Yankees - Game Three Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images

CBS Sports | R.J. Anderson & Matt Snyder: A free agent rumor! And one that doesn’t pertain to one of the Yankees’ internal free agents at that. Mark Feinsand reported that the Yankees were among the teams showing some interest in outfielder Yasiel Puig, who was last seen in 2019, running a 99 OPS+ with 24 homers between Cleveland and Cincinnati. A possible deal with the Braves for 2020 was called off after he tested positive for COVID-19, so he ended up missing the shortened season.

NJ.com | Mike Rosenstein: There’s been a fair amount of buzz surrounding Masahiro Tanaka’s free agency recently. Rosenstein provides a useful rundown of all that’s happened in the past week to help keep it all straight. In short, rumors have flown that Tanaka is deciding between the Yankees and Japan, while the pitcher himself took to social media to deny the idea that he’s limited his search in such a way. Tanaka reportedly has also yet to receive an offer from a major-league club, typical of this hyper-slow offseason.

Baseball America | Brendan Kuty: If you’re searching for a Yankee prospect to get excited about, look no further than right-hander Luis Gil. This profile of the 22-year-old highlights his work ethic, as well as Gil’s greatly improved secondary offerings. Gil reportedly now sports a top slider to go along with his upper-90s heat. Both BA and MLB Pipeline rank Gil among the team’s top five prospects, and there seems to be reason to hope that he can put it all together at the highest levels soon.

NJ.com | Joe Giglio: Here’s an argument for a reunion with old friend Didi Gregorius. Giglio points out that Gregorius’ left-handed bat could help balance the lineup and that Didi clearly has no problem dealing with the New York pressure cooker. The most persuasive point, in my opinion, in favor of a Gregorius signing is how it allows Gleyber Torres to shift to his more reliable fit at second base, but given Gregorius’ declining play at short, it’s unclear how much of a positive that really is.