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Around the Empire: Yankees news - 11/18/21

Yankees may not sign star free agent shortstop; Justin Verlander re-signs with Astros; Gerrit Cole finishes second in Cy Young; Hal Steinbrenner breaks silence on Aaron Judge extension; Marlins hire Marcus Thames

Championship Series - Los Angeles Dodgers v Atlanta Braves - Game Six Photo by Michael Zarrilli/Getty Images

New York Daily News | Matthew Roberson: Ever since the Yankees closed the book on the Gleyber Torres shortstop experiment, rumors circled around who the long-term replacement would be. This offseason seems like the perfect opportunity to address that hole, with a star-studded free agent shortstop class headlined by Carlos Correa and Corey Seager all hitting the market at the same time.

However, it was reported yesterday that the Yankees would not shop at the top of the market and instead would target a stopgap while awaiting the arrivals of shortstop prospects Anthony Volpe and Oswald Peraza. Per “multiple industry sources,” New York would rather sign someone like Andrelton Simmons or José Iglesias than spend $300 million or more on Correa or Seager. That being said, the Daily News is the only outlet reporting this development, so we’ll wait for confirmation from further sources before fully smashing the panic button.

CBS Sports | Mike Axisa: As expected, Justin Verlander rejected the qualifying offer extended by the Astros and hit the open market. Shortly thereafter, it was reported that the two-time Cy Young winner had signed a one-year, $25 million contract with a 2023 player option to remain in Houston.

It’s a bit of a surprise that the soon-to-be 39-year-old signed so quickly given the number of suitors interested in his signature. The Yankees were at or near the front of the queue of interested teams, and it was reported that he had several multi-year offers on the table. New York misses out on one of their top starting pitching targets and will have to look elsewhere to supplement a rotation that lost Corey Kluber to free agency and likely will be without Jameson Taillon to start the season.

NJ Advance Media | Randy Miller: Last night it was announced that Blue Jays starter Robbie Ray had won his first Cy Young award, capturing 29 out of 30 first-place votes. Gerrit Cole finished a distant second, earning only one first-place vote. This has to be something of a disappointment for the Yankees ace, as it appeared he had the award locked up through the first five months of the season. However, after suffering a hamstring injury in his September 7th start against the Blue Jays Cole sputtered to the finish line, sporting an unsightly 6.15 ERA across his final five starts and likely torpedoing his Cy Young chances. That being said, the voting results confirm how much weight ERA still carries, as Cole led Ray in nearly every advanced pitching metric.

New York Post | Ken Davidoff: Yankees Managing General Partner Hal Steinbrenner finally broke his silence over the possibility of an Aaron Judge extension on Wednesday, and his comments should excite Yankees fans. He revealed that he was willing to open conversations toward an extension for New York’s superstar right fielder, calling Judge a “face of the franchise” and a “great leader.” These comments come on the heels of Judge professing his desire to be a Yankee for life. All this being said, talk is only talk, and formal negotiations toward an extension have yet to be initiated.

MLB Trade Rumors | Steve Adams: Yesterday, the Marlins announced the hiring of Marcus Thames to be their major league hitting coach. Thames had spent the previous four seasons as the Yankees’ hitting coach before not having his contract renewed following a disappointing 2021 season for the New York offense. Thames is hardly the first ex-Yankee Derek Jeter has added to the Marlins organization, with notable recent hires including current GM Kim Ng, vice president of player development and scouting Gary Denbo, assistant GM Dan Greenlee, and former Yankees minor league hitting coach Phil Plantier. Best of luck to Thames as he starts this new chapter.