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Around the Empire: Yankees news - 12/22/21

Eric Chavez to join Yankees as an assistant hitting coach; Lockout causes some awkward Christmas dinners; MLB payrolls drop four percent; Iván Nova to the KBO

New York Yankees v Detroit Tigers - Game Four

MLB Trade Rumors | Anthony Franco: Yesterday, the New York Yankees made the only type of Major League transaction that they are currently allowed to make, announcing the complete coaching staff for the 2022 season. Added to a quartet of holdovers from 2021 — bench coach Carlos Mendoza, pitching coach Matt Blake, bullpen coach Mike Harkey, and catching coach Tanner Swanson — and the previously-reported hirings of hitting coach Dillon Lawson and third base coach/outfielder coach Luis Rojas are new assistant hitting coaches Eric Chavez and Casey Dykes and first base coach/infielder coach Travis Chapman.

Chavez has bounced around the coaching and front office circuit since hanging up the cleats after the 2014 season, including a stint in the Yankees front office as a scout in 2015. Dykes, meanwhile, spent the 2021 season as the hitting coach for the Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders.

FOX Sports | Jake Mintz: Since the lockout began, Major League Baseball instructed all team employees to cease communication with members of the 40-man roster. This has created a very strange dynamic between players and team employees. While there has been much discussion about the fact that players cannot communicate with team trainers, Yankees reliever Zack Britton emphasizes that “the no-contact policy is more inconvenient than restrictive” for players rehabbing injuries.

Instead, what has gathered more attention, at least among the players, has been the awkward situations that the league’s mandate has placed them in. Chicago White Sox pitcher Lucas Giolito is currently unable to talk to a longtime friend simply because he’s the pitching coach. Buck Britton, the manager of Baltimore’s Triple-A team, is technically barred from contacting his brother, the Yankees injured relief pitcher. While Zack has made light of the situation, saying, “We’ve joked that during Christmas, he’s got to stay on the other side of the room,” in truth, this is utterly ridiculous.

Making the situation worse is the fact that there is no real reason for this ban on communications between the players and team officials (a ban that only exists on the side of the teams, and is not put in place by the union). While some think it is to prevent “direct dealing,” an illegal attempt to circumvent union/employer negotiations, this law in truth only prevents discussion on labor negotiations.

Whatever the reason, though, the weirdness will continue until the lockout ends.

ESPN | Associated Press: Speaking of the lockout, a major reason for the current labor strife has been declining payrolls. Since the last full season, Major League payrolls have dropped four percent to $4.05 billion, the lowest in a full year since 2015. Since peaking at $4.26 billion in 2017, total leaguewide payroll has dropped by more than $20 million. Ignoring this past year’s payroll increase as a result of the 2020 shortened season, MLB’s payrolls have declined every year since 2017 despite rising revenues.

NJ.com | Mike Rosenstein: Former Yankees starter Iván Nova joins a flood of Yankee alumni headed to play baseball in the eastern hemisphere, landing a contract with the SSG Landers of the Korea Baseball Organization. He will join Mike Tauchman in the KBO. In the nearby Nippon Professional Baseball will be Brooks Kriske and Chris Gittens, the latter of whom will be joining Masahiro Tanaka and the Rakuten Golden Eagles.