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Around the Empire: Yankees news - 10/22/21

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Yankees among long list of suitors for Trevor Story; Top catching prospect Austin Wells working out at Arizona Fall League; Another coach departs Yankees’ staff

New York Yankees v Chicago White Sox Photo by Nuccio DiNuzzo/Getty Images

MLB.com | Mark Feinsand: Brian Cashman made it known the Yankees would be in the market for a shortstop this winter. Trevor Story has long appeared a logical target, and Feinsand ranked the most likely suitors for Story’s services in 2022 and beyond. The Rockies came in first, as they have indicated that keeping Story is a priority, though the team’s ugly divorce from Nolan Arenado puts that plan into question. The Yankees come in lower on the list, which makes some sense given how much noise has surrounded the team’s apparent interest in Dodgers star Corey Seager.

ESPN: In case you missed it, the Yankees’ coaching staff continued to undergo upheaval, as first-base coach and outfield coordinator Reggie Willits stepped down to take a position with the University of Oklahoma baseball team. Willits spent three years working as a baserunning coach in the team’s minor league system, and oversaw that area in the bigs. That the major league team struggled so mightily on the base paths in 2021 did not portend well for Willits’ future with the club.

NJ.com | Mike Rosenstein: The Yankees’ future catching situation is very much up in the air. Gary Sánchez had an uneven 2021 campaign, and has just one year of arbitration remaining. Right now, catching prospect Austin Wells is working out at the Arizona Fall League, and looked impressive taking BP. The Yankees have Wells, whose defensive skills have been questioned by scouts, Josh Breaux, and Anthony Siegler all in the minors. Wells’ solid bat puts him on the most direct path to the majors, but it’s anyone’s guess if he can stick behind the plate as he progresses.

The Ringer | Ben Lindbergh: For better and worse, MLB has used recent minor league seasons to test out all sorts of rule changes. Lindbergh runs through the data we now have on everything ranging from an automated strike zone, to moving the mound back, to a pitch clock. The potential new rules are certainly interesting, though many need further refining, and it’s worth asking to what extent it’s advisable to use the minors so blatantly as a hypothesis-testing mechanism.