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Around the Empire: Yankees news - 2/11/21

Yankees reportedly haven’t spoken with Gardner; New York State looks to open stadiums to limited amount of fans; Yankees sign O’Day, cut Heller; A look at the depth bullpen options

Division Series - New York Yankees v Tampa Bay Rays - Game Five Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images

MLB Trade Rumors | Connor Byrne: A bit of a bombshell here — the Yankees have reportedly made no contact with Brett Gardner since Halloween. Although the Yankees told Gardner and his agent that they’d cycle back to him after dealing with the bigger fish in free agency, the Yankees have seemingly finished the rest of their offseason, and Gardner still hasn’t even been offered a contract. Gardner’s agent, Joe Bick, said that other teams are interested in Gardner, but he hopes that things work out with the Yankees. Given the team’s need for a backup outfielder and his status among the team, bringing Gardner back seems like a no-brainer, but the Yankees might prefer to move on.

New York Daily News | Kristie Ackert: New York State unveiled a new plan for allowing fans to return to sporting events, beginning with a Kings-Nets match on February 23rd. The plan is to allow stadiums no more than 10 percent of their maximum capacity, and require that attending fans have a negative PCR test within 72 hours of attendance. The Yankees called these measures “an encouraging first step,” so it’s unclear at the moment if they’ll have fans during their home opener or wait for further developments.

Asbury Park Press | Pete Caldera: The Yankees officially upgraded a spot in their bullpen today, announcing the signing of Darren O’Day while designating Ben Heller for assignment. Although the O’Day signing was first reported two weeks ago, it became official today, at the cost of Heller’s roster spot. Heller, one of the pieces acquired in the 2016 Andrew Miller trade, struggled with injuries as a Yankee and only pitched 31 games in pinstripes over the years. Meanwhile, O’Day will essentially replace Adam Ottavino in the big league bullpen.

New York Daily News | Kristie Ackert: Even with the O’Day signing, there are still one or two remaining openings in the bullpen. Although the team hopes one of its young guns will stake his claim for the spot, the Yankees have brought in a hoard of veterans on non-guaranteed minor-league contracts, including Adam Warren, Kyle Barraclough, Nestor Cortes Jr., Tyler Lyons and Asher Wojciechowski. If any of these guys play a significant role this season, it will probably mean something didn’t go according to plan, but bringing in some formerly capable MLB relievers on minor league deals could pay off for the minimal cost it took to sign them.