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Around the Empire: Yankees news - 10/14/21

Minor League Baseball and Marvel announce partnership; Considering Gio Urshela at shortstop; Clint Frazier to address head injuries; Alex Rodriguez really sounds like a hypocrite; Craig Kimbrel a trade target?

Los Angeles Dodgers v Milwaukee Brewers Minor League Baseball and Marvel Entertainment have announced a three-year partnership on Marvel’s Defenders of the Diamond series, a 96-team event that will include at least that many Marvel-themed games across all levels of the minor leagues. While details are still being rolled out — fans can theoretically visit for updates, although at time of writing that webpage required some sort of login — we do know that all four Yankees full-season minor leagues squads (the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders, Somerset Patriots, Hudson Valley Renegades, and Tampa Tarpons) are participating.

It does sound like a lot of fun, but you know what would make it a lot more fun? If Major League Baseball decided to actually pay its players a livable wage, and not just slightly more than Tony Stark paid the Avengers. It’s not like the league isn’t owned by 30 Tony Starks or anything. | Mike Rosenstein: One of the more common narratives so far this offseason has been the Yankees’ need to acquire a shortstop. While many have focused on whether Brian Cashman will go fishing for one of the many marquee free agents or if he’d prefer to go bargain-bin shopping for a stop-gap, there might be a third alternative: playing Gio Urshela at shortstop next season. Although not necessarily the most attractive-looking option, Urshela’s ability to man the position could give them more flexibility in the upcoming free agent class.

Sports Illustrated | Pat Ragazzo: Responding to a Twitter reply concerning his head injuries, Clint Frazier announced via Twitter on Monday evening that he plans to address “inaccurate” reports concerning his head injuries this season. The Yankees’ original starting left fielder in 2021 struggled through the first half of the season before hitting the injured list with what was initially diagnosed as vertigo. | Mike Rosenstein: In today’s episode of “Alex Rodriguez has no idea what made him a good baseball player,” the former Yankees third baseman said that the Yankees are missing “speed, defense, baseball IQ and passion,” which you can get “at the flea market for almost free.”

Additionally, continuing his adoration of Alex Cora, A-Rod added that the ought-to-be-controversial Red Sox manager has found a way to combine analytics and “humans” — an odd statement considering, first of all, that the Red Sox and Rays (the two teams he praises) are built on analytics, and second of all, “analytics” and “humans” are not diametrically-opposed. Third, and most hypocritically, the man who signed not one but two contracts worth more than $250 million is singing the praises of players who can be signed for cheap, explicitly because they can be signed for cheap.

Sports Illustrated | Pat Ragazzo: With the news that the Chicago White Sox intend to pick up Craig Kimbrel’s option with the intent to trade him this upcoming winter, Ragazzo wonders whether the once-elite closer should be somebody the Yankees inquire about this winter. On the surface, it might seem like a strange move for a team that has already invested $30 million into the bullpen for next season, but ... honestly, there’s no way to even try to justify the suggestion. It’s a very strange one, and would only work if the Yankees were to ship out Aroldis Chapman’s and/or Zack Britton’s contract at the same time, which is highly unlikely — and that’s assuming that Kimbrel would be an upgrade over who the Yankees currently have, and considering how poorly he pitched for the White Sox (5.09 ERA, 1.21 WHIP in 23 innings), that’s a big “if.” Alas, we’re in the offseason, so unfortunately we’re in “Let’s speculate” season.