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Around the Empire: Yankees news - 11/24/21

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Yankees release Frazier, Odor; Judge, Cole make All-MLB Team; Dermis Garcia finds a new home; Former skipper Virdon passes away; Rays to extend Wander Franco

Tampa Bay Rays v New York Yankees
Best of luck, buddy.
Photo by Elsa/Getty Images

Associated Press: Clint Frazier and Rougned Odor are both officially no longer Yankees. After being designated for assignment on Friday, they were released yesterday and are now free to sign with any team. Although Frazier flashed brilliance during his peaks — especially in the shortened 2020 — injury troubles derailed his promise, and it’s unfortunately understandable for the Yankees to want someone more reliable going forward. If he’s able to overcome his 2021 vision troubles, then it will make for an awesome comeback story for whoever signs him. Odor on the other hand was a great team cheerleader, but did not contribute enough after coming over from Texas, aside from the occasional dinger and solid defense.

MLB.com | Bryan Hoch: One of the newest parts of MLB’s awards season is the All-MLB Team, which was frankly a long time coming. Established in 2019, the All-MLB Team honors a First and Second Team of players who excelled throughout the entire campaign and not just the first half (as All-Star selections do). The Yankees had two players named to the All-MLB First Team in Aaron Judge and Gerrit Cole, who were both easily among the league’s elite in the outfield and on the mound, respectively. It’s Judge’s first time on the team and Cole’s third in a row.

Baseball America | Chris Hilburn-Trenkle: Dermis Garcia always flashed remarkable power. That’s what led the Yankees to make him one of the jewels of their much-ballyhooed 2014 international free agent class. Alas, most of that class went bust, and Garcia’s ascent didn’t go as planned. To his credit, the defensively limited infielder did mash a league-best 31 homers for Double-A Somerset in 2021, but even with the power, he only hit .210/.307/.486 with a 111 wRC+. Although decent, the Yankees decided to let him go at season’s end. The soon-to-be 24-year-old has found a new home with the Oakland A’s, where he recently signed.

New York Post: A somewhat-forgotten figure from Yankees history has passed away. In 1950, infielder Bill Virdon was signed out of Missouri by Yankees scout Tom Greenwade (who also signed Mickey Mantle), but before he could make it to The Show in pinstripes, he was dealt to the Cardinals. He won NL Rookie of the Year honors in 1955 and then found a long-term home in Pittsburgh with another trade the following year, where he later won the 1960 World Series over New York.

Virdon briefly ascended to the Pirates’ managerial role in 1972 but was let go midway through ‘73. He found a new home at his original one, where he returned to New York under new owner George Steinbrenner as the Yankees’ skipper in ‘74. Although the Shea Stadium Era Yankees were better than they’ve been remembered, they weren’t good enough to reach the playoffs. Once Billy Martin became available halfway through ‘75, Steinbrenner couldn’t resist bringing the former Yankee folk hero home. Virdon was let go and Martin led the Yankees to pennants in ‘76 and ‘77 rather than Virdon. To his credit, Virdon did win division titles at the Astros’ helm in 1980-81, but that was the end of the road for his success as a skipper.

The 22nd manager in Yankees history passed away in Springfield, MO, at the age of 90. Rest in peace, Bill Virdon.


Lastly, this is non-Yankees news, but quite relevant for Yankees fans. The Rays have reportedly extended 20-year-old budding superstar Wander Franco. Given that the Rays are the Rays, he probably won’t remain in their uniform for the duration of his contract, but at the very least, he’ll remain a thorn in the Yankees’ side for years to come.