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Around the Empire: Yankees news - 7/29/21

The tick-tock and analysis behind the Joey Gallo trade; Explaining Aaron Judge’s early Wednesday absence; Baseball America’s midseason Yankees prospect update

Texas Rangers v New York Yankees

SNY | Andy Martino: Unless you threw on your nightcap and blew out the candle on your bedside table at 8pm ET on the dot, you’ve probably heard the whispers of news that Rangers slugger Joey Gallo is now a Yankee. The best-case scenario probably would’ve been going to sleep immediately after reading the first Jeff Passan tweet because it was a whirlwind night. Technically, he isn’t officially a Yankee yet, but the package seems all but set, with Gallo and reliever Joely Rodríguez going to New York for prospects Ezequiel Duran, Josh Smith, Trevor Hauver, and Glenn Otto.

At first, the news was just that Gallo was going to New York. Then, lefty John King was joining him, and pitching prospect Clarke Schmidt was one of the minor leaguers heading to Texas. There was a six-player return that was reported at one point with Everson Pereira and Randy Vasquez. Martino has the tick-tock on the strange night and how it evolved.

FanGraphs | Dan Szymborski: Once the dust mostly settled on the details of the trade, Szymborski was on the scene to take a closer look for FanGraphs. The post starts with a focus on the end of an era for Rangers baseball, but if you’re entirely uninterested, don’t worry, it doesn’t take him long to hit the impact on the Yankees. Simply put, Gallo immediately becomes the Bombers’ first big lefty power bat since the days of Robinson Canó. It’s weird that it’s taken this long, but Gallo’s such a perfect fit for an offense that — despite preseason expectations — could really use a 140 wRC+ masher like him. And he’ll be in pinstripes through a fresh, new season next year, too!

New York Post | Dan Martin: Prior to the intensification of the Gallo trade talks, the main buzz around the buzz was that Aaron Judge was a late scratch from Wednesday night’s lineup. He wasn’t seen in the dugout at all until pinch-hitting for Estevan Florial in the fifth, at which point he played the rest of the game. Judge’s absence was due to necessary tests and bloodwork that had to be done in wake of his return from the COVID IL. He was one of the few from the Yankees’ outbreak to be symptomatic, and when asked if he’d been vaccinated, Judge declined comment. So, uh, there’s that.

Martin’s post also notes that Clint Frazier is nearing a solution to his vision issues and could begin a rehab assignment next week. Additionally, Luis Severino is scheduled to pitch a rehab game today, but rain in the forecast will likely turn that into a simulated game at Tropicana Field.

Baseball America | Josh Norris: This is a subscriber-only link, but after news of the Gallo trade broke, BA accelerated its schedule for the Yankees’ midseason Top 30 Prospects update. The likely-dealt Duran (No. 6), Smith (No. 8), Otto (No. 20), and Hauver (No. 23) are all in the picture, but also of note are 2019 top draft pick Anthony Volpe jumping to No. 2, 2021 top pick Trey Sweeney debuting at No. 7, and current Triple-A catcher Donny Sands cracking the very end of the top 30 — usurping the 2018 top pick, Anthony Seigler, in the process. As always, the detailed reports are worth the sub, and we won’t spoil anything else.

FanGraphs | Justin Choi: The Yankees’ trade of Luis Cessa and Justin Wilson to the Reds came out of the blue in the middle of the night after Tuesday’s game. Cessa’s pitched effectively in 2021, so what gives? Well, Choi came to the same conclusion that many of us also suspected — this is all about Hal Steinbrenner and Brian Cashman finagling to move Wilson’s contract and 2022 player option ahead of the Trade Deadline. Cessa’s not an elite reliever or anything, but moving him for a player to be named and salary relief is still pretty light. The fact that Gallo was added later on is a nice lil’ salve though.

Lastly, the Mariners are signing Asher Wojciechowski to a minor league deal, confirming that the pitcher won’t return to New York. He was very briefly a Yankee, pitching four innings of two-run ball in a spot start against the Phillies last week before being promptly DFA’d.

I will try to remember Wojciechowski on the end-of-season Sporcle quiz, but I make no promises whatsoever.