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Around the Empire: Yankees news - 7/30/21

Yanks make surprising move for Anthony Rizzo; Trevor Story deal now unlikely; Boone sees Rodríguez as a lefty-specialist; New prospects break into top 30 after big trades.

Cincinnati Reds v Chicago Cubs Photo by Quinn Harris/Getty Images

NY Post | Dan Martin: Thursday wound up making two significant trades official for the Yankees — one expected and one a total surprise. While the Joey Gallo trade dragged over a day due to the change in which reliever was heading back to New York, Brian Cashman completed a deal out of nowhere to acquire Anthony Rizzo from the Cubs just hours later. The deal gives the Yanks a second strong left-handed bat to insert into a lineup desperate for some consistency, and also reveals a not-so-surprising development: the luxury tax threshold is clearly still in play. (As part of the moves, Estevan Florial was returned to Triple-A Scranton.) | Mike Rosenstein: Swinging a deal for Rizzo means that the Yankees now have a crowded infield, one that’s already contemplating moving Luke Voit for additional help elsewhere, and this means that another key trade target is now highly unlikely to come to the Bronx — at least, before the trade deadline. The Rockies have been stalling in their efforts to trade Trevor Story, perhaps preferring the draft compensation that they would get when Story inevitably declines the qualifying offer, and it appears that the gap in negotiations was too wide for New York, steering them over to Rizzo instead.

That doesn’t mean that Story’s done being connected to the Bronx, however. Since Rizzo is a rental, it’s possible that the Yankees could look to retool the infield in the offseason, and then Story would be a great fit once again. For now though, the Yanks will almost certainly make their playoff push without him.

NY Daily News | Kristie Ackert: The delay on the Gallo trade came thanks to some suspect medicals from the second piece that the Rangers were offering the Yankees — reliever John King. Instead of taking him on, the Yankees pivoted to Joely Rodríguez, while lowering the prospect haul that they were sending out slightly. Rodríguez hasn’t had the greatest season so far, pitching to a 5.93 ERA in 27.1 innings, but Aaron Boone sees potential for the 29-year-old to serve as a lefty specialist and a foil to Clay Holmes, whom the Yankees recently acquired from the Pirates. The three-batter minimum has minimized the effectiveness of the LOOGYs of old, but there’s no harm in having a reliever who is exceptional at getting lefties out so long as Boone can find the right spots for him.

Finally, with all of the movement brought on by the trade deadline, a number of spots have opened up on MLB Pipeline’s list of the top 30 Yankees prospects. The Gallo trade brought Oswaldo Cabrera, Randy Vasquez, Janson Junk, and 17-year-old Fidel Montero into the fold, and now the Rizzo trade has allowed Mitch Spence and Elijah Dunham to rise up. Janson Junk may only be in the lower tier of this list, but he’s a top prospect in terms of names, that’s for sure.