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Around the Empire: Yankees news - 1/4/22

22 Yankees predictions; The top 20 remaining free agents; MLB Network shoots itself in foot over Ken Rosenthal; Cameron Maybin retires

MLB: ALDS-New York Yankees at Minnesota Twins
Happy trails, Cam.
Jesse Johnson-USA TODAY Sports | Pete Caldera: It might be January 4th, but hey, you can still get your baseball predictions in! Caldera looked back on a few of his successful “21 predictions for ‘21” and then made “22 predictions for ‘22.” Some are logical, like Luis Severino having a nice comeback season and the Yankees’ offense underachieving its way to a Wild Card spot. As for some of the others ... how does “Brett Gardner, New York Met” strike your fancy?

MLB Trade Rumors | Tim Dierkes: Remember when the MLB free agent class was plentiful with big names? Although MLBTR released an impressive list of the top 50 free agents back on November 8th, after a frenzy of activity prior to the lockout, only 20 players remain from the original countdown. There are some big ones in there, like Carlos Correa and Freddie Freeman, but otherwise? See for yourself.

By the way, don’t get your hopes up on those names signing anytime soon. The latest word is that there aren’t any negotiations currently scheduled between the MLB and MLBPA. Ominous, given that spring training games — the first opportunity for MLB owner revenue loss — begin in 53 days.

New York Post | Andrew Marchand: If you thought that MLB was acting dumb at the negotiation table, just wait until you hear about how they’re acting to their own employees. Longtime MLB insider Ken Rosenthal had been with MLB Network since its inception in 2009, but his tenure there is now over. Part of the reason is that Rob Manfred was reportedly upset by Rosenthal’s criticism of him during previous MLB/MLBPA negotiations that combined with COVID-19’s initial outbreak to delay the 2020 season (criticism that frankly wasn’t even as pointed as it could’ve been, if you ask me). Our embarrassing ambassador of the sport, everyone.

Twitter | Cameron Maybin: The 2019 season remains one of my favorites in recent memory, if not only for the many unsung heroes who emerged out of nowhere to help the injury-laden club. Veteran Cameron Maybin was one of those #NextMenUp. A former top prospect who actually hit his first career homer off Roger Clemens at the old Yankee Stadium, Maybin was on his 10th different organization in the past five years when the Yankees picked him up from Cleveland as a depth addition on April 25th.

Suddenly, Maybin had his best season in quite some time, as he batted .285/.364/.494 with 17 doubles and 11 homers in 82 games, good for a 127 OPS+. Everyone in that clubhouse loved him, and though his role had faded somewhat by the postseason, he still got to belt his first (and only) career playoff homer:

Maybin moved on, but the magic didn’t return for him in 2020 or 2021. So he’s calling it quits after a 15-year career. Happy trails, Cam. You were a gem.