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Around the Empire: Yankees news - 10/7/21

Boone “at peace” with fate; Judge wants to be career Yankee; Cole’s poor playoff start and mixed second half; Yanks send eight prospects to AFL

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Wild Card Round - New York Yankees v Boston Red Sox
Boone’s final walk from the mound in the pullover?
Photo by Winslow Townson/Getty Images

ESPN | Joon Lee: Manager Aaron Boone is aware that he’ll be under quite a bit of scrutiny over these next few weeks as the Yankees prepare for 2022. His contract is up and the team will have to make a decision about whether or not to bring back the skipper who is very popular with his players but has not seen enough playoff success since taking over a talented core in 2018. Boone is “at peace” with whatever the team decides, though since the Steinbrenners and front office still seem to have a good relationship with him, he could very well be back — questionable managerial tactics and comments be damned.

USA Today | Pete Caldera: During his first press conference of this long offseason, team MVP Aaron Judge did not beat around the bush. He knows that he’ll be a free agent after next season, but he doesn’t want to go anywhere. Judge spelled it out to owner Hal Steinbrenner, saying, “I want to be a Yankee for life.” Will the Yankees extend him or make early overtures? Who knows, and the expiring CBA to be discussed in the offseason won’t make matters any easier. But we know where Judge stands.

FanGraphs | Jay Jaffe: When ace Gerrit Cole got crushed on Tuesday night with shoddy fastball command and a bad changeup, it may have been a bit of a shock to some fans. Alas, it was unfortunately the continuation of his downward trend since leaving a start early in early-September with a hamstring injury. Cole’s numbers also leapt following the sticky stuff crackdown in early June, though he did also get back into a rhythm for awhile before his hammy troubles. The good news is that Cole’s blip shouldn’t portend any long-term problems, but hey, he’ll still have something to prove in 2022. | Jim Callis, Jonathan Mayo, and Sam Dykstra: As noted yesterday on the site, the Yankees have their Arizona Fall League assignments. The biggest names heading to Surprise, AZ, are catching prospect Austin Wells and outfielder Elijah Dunham. Both signed in 2020 and spent this past season raking at both Low-A Tampa and High-A Hudson Valley. Andres Chaparro, a 22-year-old infielder, did the same in 2021, and he’ll be joining the two in Arizona (as well as five pitchers).

Lastly, kudos go out to infield prospect Oswaldo Cabrera, who was named the MVP for his outstanding season with the Double-A Somerset Patriots. In 109 games, he hit .256/.311/.492 with 24 homers and a 114 wRC+ as Somerset led its division in its first season of affiliated ball.

Oh, and since that wasn’t enough, Cabrera also won back-to-back Player of the Week team honors during his late-season stint in Triple-A Scranton (.500/.583/1.133 with 5 homers in 9 games). What a year!