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Around the Empire: Yankees news - 7/15/21

Scouting director Damon Oppenheimer reviews Yankees’ draft; Aaron Judge participates in Hank Aaron ceremony; Two-time champion Dick Tidrow passes away

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Dodgers v Yankees
The late Dick Tidrow (1947-2021)
Photo by Focus On Sport/Getty Images | Pete Caldera: Yankees scouting director Damon Oppenheimer lent some insight on the team’s draft strategy in an interview. The club focused on talent rather than simply current needs, and selected the best players available by their models. Oppenheimer and his team feel that second-round pitcher Brendan Beck is close to big-league ready and that third-rounder Brock Selvidge was one of the top three high school pitchers in the entire draft.

The Yankees are also optimistic that first-round pick Trey Sweeney can stay at shortstop. If you have an Athletic subscription, Lindsey Adler did a great article explaining their extensive scouting on a player from an area not typically explored: Eastern Illinois University and the Ohio Valley Conference.

New York Post | Ken Davidoff: If you skipped the pregame festivities of the MLB All-Star Game, you might have missed that Aaron Judge was lucky enough to participate in the ceremony honoring the legendary Hank Aaron. Judge and Braves first baseman Freddie Freeman accompanied Aaron’s widow, Billye, to home plate. She was presented with a commissioned painting of the icon and an Aaron Braves jersey autographed by every All-Star. Billye Aaron was clearly quite moved by the gestures, and the ceremony is worth a watch.

Associated Press: A two-time World Series champion has left us. Former Yankees pitcher Dick Tidrow unexpectedly passed away on Saturday at the age of 74. The mustachioed right-hander came to New York from Cleveland in April 1974 alongside Chris Chambliss in a trade that helped make the ‘77 and ‘78 World Series champion teams possible. In six years with the Yankees, Tidrow went 41-33 with a 3.61 ERA in 711.1 innings of work, often as a setup man out of the bullpen (though in ‘78, he made 25 starts). He was at his best in the ‘78 Fall Classic, when he had a 1.93 ERA in 4.1 innings of work across two relief appearances.

Tidrow was dealt away in ‘79, but returned to the Yankees as a special assignment scout from ‘85 through ‘93. That paved the way for his most impactful contribution to the game, as he moved on to the Giants under GM Brian Sabean and spent the rest of his life as a scout, executive, and pitching guru who played a key role in the development of Tim Lincecum, Madison Bumgarner, Matt Cain, and more vital members of the three-time champions from 2010-14. He will be missed by nigh-countless folks around baseball.

Lastly, fourth-round pick Cooper Bowman will sign with the Yankees. The Louisville second baseman posted an Instagram photo of him putting pen to paper. There were several other draft pick updates yesterday too, and you can check them out on our draft pick tracker.