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

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2021 season to proceed as scheduled; best debut seasons in Yankees history; LeMahieu is MLB Network’s best second baseman in baseball

2019 ALCS Game 5 - Houston Astros v. New York Yankees Photo by Alex Trautwig/MLB Photos via Getty Images

MLB Trade Rumors | Connor Byrne: The MLB Players Association did not take long to respond to the owner’ offer of a reduced 154-game season with expanded playoffs and a universal DH. They rejected it, noting that the proposal did not offer any salary or service time protection “in the event of further delays, interruptions, or cancellations of the season,” perceiving it as once again putting too much power into Rob Manfred’s hands.

So later in the evening, MLB said that it would plan to move forward with the already-established plan for 2021, “subject to reaching an agreement on health and safety protocols.” The current CBA rules will be used, teams will be expected to report to spring training, the playoffs will remain the 10-team format from 2019, and the NL will not adopt the DH. The Yankees’ first pitchers and catchers workout is February 17th, so mark your calendars. As for 2022? Well, the new CBA negotiations are sure to be dicey at best next winter.

ESPN | Associated Press: In lighter MLB news, 2012 Yankees playoff hero Raúl Ibañez was one of a few former players named to an executive position within the league. He had been a special assistant with the Dodgers for the past few years after his career ended in 2014. Per the announcement, “Ibañez will be involved in rules, equipment, and on-field technology while contributing to scouting and amateur baseball initiatives.” He’ll join recently-departed Marlins GM Michael Hill in assisting with player discipline — a similar role that was occupied by former pitcher Chris Young in 2020 before he became the Rangers’ GM.

NJ.com | Brendan Kuty: Longtime rival Dustin Pedroia officially announced his retirement from baseball. He was an absolute thorn in the Yankees’ side for a decade until injuries slowed him down and led to him calling it quits at age 37. In his farewell press conference, Pedroia recounted that his 2006 MLB debut came immediately after one of the most memorable series in Yankees-Red Sox history: the second Boston Massacre, a five-game sweep at Fenway that effectively ended the Red Sox season. According to Pedroia, it was a pretty grim clubhouse for him to join, so he had to dial his energy back a bit early on. Good times!

MLB.com | Bryan Hoch: The Yankees have seen some pretty impressive stars join their club over the years, dating back to the days of Babe Ruth and Joe DiMaggio. Hoch recounted the five best debut seasons in pinstripes in franchise history. DJ LeMahieu’s 2019 was incredible, but even that wasn’t good enough to make this elite top five.

Speaking of LeMahieu, an added bonus to the news today is that he was named the best second baseman in baseball by MLB Network’s Shredder projections, beating out Jeff McNeil of the Mets for the No. 1 spot.