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Around the Empire: Yankees news - 11/19/21

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Aaron Judge finishes fourth in AL MVP voting; Castillo and Marquez likely off the table; Voter explains decision to put Cole ahead of Ray; Yanks’ leadoff hitters were among the league worst

MLB: Tampa Bay Rays at New York Yankees Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY Sports

BBWAA: Los Angeles Angels two-way star Shohei Ohtani won the American League MVP award unanimously, receiving all 30 first-place votes. Toronto Blue Jays’ slugger Vladimir Guerrero Jr. came in second with 29 second-place votes and a third-place one. It was an expected outcome given how dominant Ohtani was at the plate and on the mound, something that we’ve never seen at the MLB level in the modern era. Marcus Semien finished third.

For the fourth time in five years, a Yankee finished in the top four of the AL MVP vote. 2017 runner-up Aaron Judge followed commendable showings by DJ LeMahieu in 2019-20 to finish fourth in the 2021 voting with 171 points, topping out with three third-place ballots. Ace Gerrit Cole also received one eight-place and one tenth-place vote, to accumulate four points and finish 17th.

NJ Advance Media | Mike Rosenstein: It’s evident that the Yankees need to bring in at least a couple of starters, and one of them should be a difference-making kind of talent. They have already seen Eduardo Rodriguez, Noah Syndergaard, and Justin Verlander fly off the market, and while there still are several quality arms available as free agents, the trade market is also a possibility.

On that front, Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic reported that Luis Castillo of the Cincinnati Reds and German Marquez of the Colorado Rockies are unlikely to be moved.

“The Reds’ Luis Castillo and Rockies’ Germán Márquez are doubtful to be moved, sources say,” he reported. The Cincinnati ace had a 3.98 ERA, but posted a 2.73 mark from June on with peripherals much closer to his breakout 2019-20. Marquez, on the other hand, had a 4.40 ERA in 2021, but struck out 176 hitters in 180 frames.

New York Daily News | Matthew Roberson: The Yankees’ leadoff hitters had a hard time getting the job done this season. The offense as a whole was a problem, but when the first batter up is consistently failing to reach base, it makes things harder for everyone else.

The Yankees’ overall slash line from the leadoff slot was .258/.340/.354, per the Daily News. They had a putrid .694 OPS, which ranked 28th out of 30 teams. Most of the blame here falls on the shoulders of LeMahieu, who underachieved while starting off things for the Yanks’ offense 144 times.

WFAN | Lou DiPietro: In Wednesday’s AL Cy Young voting, the Toronto Blue Jays’ Robbie Ray received 29 first-place votes, and the remaining one went for the Yankees’ own ace, Cole. The writer who had Cole ahead explained his reasoning:

Beck covers the Detroit Tigers for MLB.com.

Ray had a 2.84 ERA but a 3.69 FIP, for example. Meanwhile, Cole’s ERA was 3.23 and his FIP was 2.92. (For more, see my article from yesterday on Cole’s justified case.)