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Around the Empire: Yankees news - 11/8/21

Joey Gallo wins Gold Glove; Yankees decline Joely Rodríguez option, add Donny Sands; Reviewing free agent priorities; Under-the-radar targets; Freddie Freeman to New York?; Final list of players tendered QO

Baltimore Orioles v New York Yankees Photo by Adam Hunger/Getty Images | Bryan Hoch: Late last night, Rawlings announced that Joey Gallo had won his second straight Gold Glove award in right field. His introductory season in pinstripes didn’t go as he or the Yankees had hoped, as he batted only .160/.303/.404 with a 38.6 percent strikeout rate. That said, the defense stayed as sterling as ever, with Gallo accruing 14 DRS and seven OAA.

NJ Advance Media | Brendan Kuty: With free agency finally upon us as of 5 p.m. yesterday, let’s review the Yankees’ free agent priorities this winter. Atop the list is shortstop — with Carlos Correa and Corey Seager the obvious candidates — after GM Brian Cashman officially closed the book on the Gleyber Torres shortstop experiment. Kuty next identifies catcher as needing improvement given another disappointing campaign from Gary Sánchez, but doesn’t expect a move given the thin market for backstops. First base is a bit of a question mark, with DJ LeMahieu, Luke Voit, Anthony Rizzo, and Matt Olson all mentioned as possibilities. Finally, the Yankees need a clear number two in the rotation behind Gerrit Cole, and there are a handful of intriguing options on the market.

New York Daily News | Matthew Roberson: Aside from the big-ticket items, there are plenty of free agents on the market who could provide the Yankees useful depth. Leury García and Kevin Pillar are classic utility guys who can field multiple positions. If the Yankees desire a co-ace to pair with Cole, they could turn to starters like Marcus Stroman or Luis Castillo (via trade on the latter). And as for the bullpen, there may be some bargains this winter including Mychal Givens and Jake Diekman.

New York Post | Joel Sherman (subscription required): Given the uncertainty surrounding first base, the Yankees could turn to the top of the market. It’s assumed that Freddie Freeman will remain with the Braves, with whom he just won the World Series; however, it is not a forgone conclusion. The Yankees could make a real statement this winter by offering Freeman a deal he simply cannot refuse.

MLB Trade Rumors | Mark Polishuk: Yesterday was the last day for teams to tender the qualifying offer to eligible candidates, and 14 players were offered the one-year, $18.4 million deal. On that list are the aforementioned Correa, Seager, and Freeman, meaning if the Yankees were to sign one of these players in free agency (all three are expected to reject the QO), the team would forfeit its second-highest pick and lose $500,000 from their international signing bonus pool money.

Finally, we have a bit of roster housekeeping. The Yankees announced yesterday that they were declining the $3 million club option on Joely Rodríguez for 2022, making him a free agent. He will now be owed a $500,000 buyout. The lefty reliever came to New York as part of the Joey Gallo trade, and pitched to a 2.84 ERA and 3.01 FIP in 19 innings in pinstripes. The team also announced that they were adding Triple-A catcher Donny Sands to the 40-man roster, preventing the 25-year-old from reaching minor league free agency. (He has quite the story, too.)