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Around the Empire: Yankees news - 11/16/22

Hal claims to be dedicated to re-signing Judge, also floats captaincy; Rizzo returns, Vasquez added to 40, Ridings to Mets; King throwing again; Yanks win Team Gold Glove

Newsday | David Lennon: Yankees owner Hal Steinbrenner spoke to some reporters on Tuesday afternoon, and he said that he’s already had conversations with key free agent Aaron Judge about keeping him in pinstripes for life. Also, unlike the extension talks, perhaps don’t expect to hear as many details of the negotiations in the media.

Take Hal’s quotes for what they’re worth, but he did seem to indicate that the Yankees’ current payroll commitments wouldn’t stop them from bringing Judge back. Although the drive to do so is reminiscent of the team’s dedicated pursuit of Gerrit Cole in the 2019-20 offseason, it remains to be seen whether Hal will live up to his word, or if Judge will decide if the Yankees are, in fact, the best fit for the rest of his career (or if the Giants will make things interesting).

In case you missed it, let’s go rapid-fire through some actual Yankees roster moves that we covered at PSA yesterday:

  • Anthony Rizzo is back! The first baseman rejected his qualifying offer (like Judge), but he didn’t remain on the market for long. He’s back with the Yankees on a two-year, $40 million that will pay him $17 million from 2023-24 and at least $6 million in 2025 on a buyout. If the Yankees are satisfied with him though, they also have a $17 million club option for that third year. It’s an important move to lock up the anchor of the right side of the infield, not to mention a lefty power bat who is perfectly well-suited for Yankee Stadium.
  • Prospect Randy Vasquez was added to the 40-man roster. Yesterday was the deadline to protect eligible minor league players who they didn’t want exposed to the Rule 5 Draft, and Vasquez has flashed serious potential for either the future rotation or bullpen (the latter is more likely to me).
  • The Yankees had room on their 40-man, but they decided to let 2021 success story Stephen Ridings go off waivers to the Mets. Shoulder injuries have limited him to just two minor league innings since hitting The Show in early-August 2021, so for now, it’s farewell to the hard-throwing righty.
  • Also, not on PSA, but cheers to rehabbing reliever Michael King! Per his Instagram, he’s now throwing again for the first time since his season-ending elbow injury that nearly caused Tommy John surgery. He was vital to the Yankees’ first-half success, so hopefully, he can recapture that form in 2023. | Bryan Hoch: More Hal/Judge talk! This was actually from Monday night, but hey, whenever you have the Yankees seriously floating the possibility of a captaincy, it’s fun. Steinbrenner said that the Yankees would indeed consider naming Judge the first captain since Derek Jeter if he returns, though perhaps the more intriguing Hal tidbits came from his thoughts on the trio of Anthony Volpe, Oswald Peraza, and Oswaldo Cabrera (hey, he knows they exist!). He also affirmed that both manager Aaron Boone and GM Brian Cashman will ideally be back for 2023. Boone is of course still under contract through 2024, but negotiations on Cashman’s deal are still ongoing.

BBWAA: From the “lol” category, let us salute the annually weird honor of “Manager of the Year.” The main story involved former Yankees skipper Buck Showalter riding the Mets’ 24-win improvement to his fourth career honor (with his fourth different team) and Guardians manager Terry Francona winning his third (all in Cleveland), but scroll on down to fifth in the American League, and who do you find? Somewhat inexplicably, that Boone fella who saw his team nearly collapse down the stretch. He earned a second and third-place vote. I love this goofy-ass award. It’s preposterous.

For our final story today, we must salute the Yankees’ team defense as a whole. Catcher Jose Trevino took home the franchise’s first ever Platinum Gold Glove after winning standard Gold Glove defensive honors behind the plate, and DJ LeMahieu captured Rawlings’ first utility Gold Glove. On top of all this, pitcher Jameson Taillon was a Gold Glove finalist, and each of Josh Donaldson and Aaron Judge earned league-wide praise for their defensive work as well.

Add it all up, and you have the Yankees winning the Team Gold Glove as the best defensive club in the American League. If you’re unfamiliar with this one, don’t be ashamed; this is a relatively new award, introduced in 2020.