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Around the Empire: Yankees news - 11/30/22

Cortes named to Team USA; Mattingly on verge of joining Blue Jays; O’Neill’s YES Network future up in the air; Houston showing interest in Benintendi; Two former Yankees relievers find new homes

American League Championship Series Game 4: Houston Astros v. New York Yankees Photo by Mary DeCicco/MLB Photos via Getty Images | Michael Clair: Nestor Cortes was arguably the Yankees’ best starting pitcher in 2022, and now he can add another achievement to his mantle — being named to the Team USA starting rotation. The team is looking to defend its World Baseball Classic crown from 2017 after the tournament was postponed from 2021 by the COVID-19 pandemic and reinstated for 2023 under the new MLB CBA. Cortes led Yankees starters with a 2.44 ERA in 158.1 innings pitched en route to his first All-Star nod and now gets the chance to represent his country this spring.

New York Post | Joel Sherman and Jon Heyman: Don Mattingly recently stepped down from his role as Marlins manager, but it looks like the Yankees legend won’t be out of work for long. Sherman and Heyman of the Post are reporting that the former Yankee captain is deep in talks to join the Blue Jays as their bench coach. Toronto fired manager Charlie Montoyo last season, elevating John Schneider as the interim manager to finish the season. They apparently liked what they saw from the first-time manager and handed him the reins of the team for the next three years, but because of that inexperience, it’s no surprise they are looking at the veteran manager Mattingly to provide a seasoned hand in the dugout.

NJ Advance Media | Bridget Hyland: The Yankees aren’t the only ones with decisions to make this winter as the YES Network is also considering changes to the composition of their roster. Paul O’Neill’s broadcasting contract expired following the 2022 season and the network executives have to decide whether to bring him back for his 22nd season and beyond in the booth. For what it’s worth, Andrew Marchand of the Post believes that YES will retain the Yankee fan favorite, who had his number 21 retired by the team this past season.

Sports Illustrated | Gary Phillips: The Astros injected worry into the Yankees fanbase when rumors surfaced linking them to Anthony Rizzo prior to his re-signing with New York. After pivoting to José Abreu, it appears they are again interested in a bat who played in the Bronx in 2022, with news emerging that they have held “internal discussions” on Andrew Benintendi. The Yankees acquired the lefty outfielder at the deadline, and he went on to slash .254/.331/.404 with a 111 wRC+ in 33 games for the Bombers before his season was ended by a broken hook of the hamate in September.

MLB Trade Rumors | Darragh McDonald: The Angels are signing former Yankees reliever Jonathan Holder to a minor league contract. Holder last played for New York in 2020 before being non-tendered prior to the 2021 season. He signed on with the Cubs but pitched just two professional innings thanks to shoulder issues, and had to settle for another minor league deal for 2022. Holder made 16 appearances between complex ball and Triple-A with a 8.57 ERA in 21 innings. In five seasons with the Bombers, Holder made 157 appearances with a 4.38 ERA and 3.85 FIP in 176.2 innings.

NJ Advance Media | Mike Rosenstein: Holder isn’t the only former Yankee bullpen arm on the move this winter. Shelby Miller, who signed a minor league deal with the Bombers last spring, opted out of that deal in June before signing with San Francisco’s Triple-A Sacramento Bees affiliate. He made 16 appearances for the RailRiders with a 1.71 ERA and 27 appearances for the Bees with a 3.62 ERA. This earned him a call-up to the Giants, for whom he made four appearances with one of the strangest stat disparities you will see — a 6.43 ERA but a 0.40 FIP. He had been offered a minor league contract with the Giants but ended up signing a major league deal with the Dodgers.