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Around the Empire: Yankees news - 1/8/21

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Cole named in ball-doctoring court case; depth pitching move in Chacín; Dodgers looking seriously at DJ; Lindor to the Mets puts pressure on the Bronx

American League Division Series Game 5: New York Yankees v. Tampa Bay Rays Photo by Alex Trautwig/MLB Photos via Getty Images

LA Times | Mike DiGiovanna: As part of his defamation complaint in court against his old employer, former Angels visiting clubhouse manager Bubba Harkins named Gerrit Cole as one of many players to seek his help over the years in using foreign substances on the baseball. Harkins released a text message exchange he had with Cole in 2019, when the then-Astros ace not-so-subtly requested some of his concoction. Obviously, Cole is far from the only pitcher in the game to doctor the ball to get a better grip in cold weather, but for him to put it in writing is... unwise at best.

CBS Sports: The Yankees made another depth move yesterday, agreeing to a minor league deal with veteran swingman Jhoulys Chacín. The righty had a 3.50 ERA in 35 starts for Milwaukee in 2018, but was awful in 2019 and threw just five innings for the Braves last year. He turned 33 yesterday.

New York Post | Justin Terranova: Now that Francisco Lindor is off the board — more on that later — teams looking to shore up their infield can be expected to pursue DJ LeMahieu even harder. The Dodgers, already rumored to be interested in the MVP finalist, have reportedly stepped up their diligence. Perhaps the only team that can rival the Yankees on a pure spending basis, the Dodgers have also become famous for positional creativity, meaning they could be able to add yet another All-Star bat to the best roster in baseball. | Mike Lupica: Speaking of DJ and free agency, the Yankees have been quiet all winter. Depth moves have occurred, but no real high-ceiling rumors have really surfaced yet, around speculation the team is looking to cut payroll and reset the CBT penalty. There are still real holes in the roster, and while the winter isn’t over yet, as a great man once said, it gets late early. | Randy Miller: The big news of the baseball day was the trade of Francisco Lindor to the Mets, in a deal that many, myself included, see as a steal for that other New York team. Some might view this trade as a shot across the Yankees bow and expect a response from Hal Steinbrenner, others feel that the Yankees don’t operate that way anymore, and won’t deviate from their offseason strategy. Only time will tell who is right, but the Mets have certainly made the biggest splash of the offseason so far.