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Around the Empire: Yankees news - 10/8/22

Projecting the ALDS roster; Kyle Higashioka had a quietly good second half; DJ LeMahieu not a lock for playoffs; Tyler Wade elects free agency.

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MLB: Baltimore Orioles at New York Yankees Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY Sports

The Athletic | Chris Kirschner: With the Yankees thankfully getting a few days off to rest and recharge before the postseason, Yankees-specific news might be slow around these parts. That means it’s the perfect time to play ALDS roster construction games! Thankfully, The Athletic has us covered. Kirschner projects that the Yankees will roll with three starting pitchers, nine bullpen arms (including starters Jameson Taillon and Domingo Germán acting as reinforcements), and 14 position players. Of particular interest? Oswald Peraza gets the nod in this exercise over Marwin Gonzalez! The 12-14 split seems to make the most sense for the Yankees, but we’ll see how it plays out. After all, they do tend to like their veterans... | Randy Miller: The Yankees second half was abysmal at times, but the team seems to have re-discovered its stride right at the perfect time. A huge debt of gratitude from the entire franchise should be laid at Aaron Judge’s feet, obviously — I mean, he did put up one of the best second half performances of all-time — but you know who else deserves some flowers? Kyle Higashioka. His first half was a bit of a nightmare after becoming the de facto starter following the offseason departure of Gary Sánchez, only to once again find himself in a backup role when Jose Trevino came to town. But, thankfully for him and the team, he got hot in the second half, hitting to a tune of a .299/.317/.485 slash line and 125 OPS+. While his overall season numbers don’t look nearly as good, he really turned it on at the right time and might have inadvertently thrown his hat in the ring for the starting catcher gig as the playoffs roll around. I don’t envy Boone for having to choose between Higashioka, the hot hand, or Trevino, the catcher with a better full season of work.

New York Post | Dan Martin: As of right now, things are not looking great for DJ LeMahieu’s postseason outlooks. He was limping around after Wednesday’s regular season finale, and Aaron Boone hasn’t committed to including him on the roster for the ALDS. The next few days will be incredibly important for LeMahieu, but early indications aren’t looking great for his chances of cracking the roster. A healthy LeMahieu could be a difference maker for this ball club, but the pushing-through-injury version of the versatile infielder we’ve seen in the second half of this season doesn’t exactly inspire confidence. | Brendan Kuty: In a quiet move, Tyler Wade has elected to become a free agent, effectively ending his Yankees tenure. Of course, it’s entirely possible he somehow finds his way back to the organization — they seem to like keeping him around — but, after a particularly rough year between MLB with the Angels and Triple-A with the Yankees, it’s not looking great for our old friend.