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Around the Empire: Yankees news - 12/11/22

Yankees preparing an offer for Rodón; Three priorities for the rest of the offseason; YES Network is thankful for Judge; Bombers still not as good as the Astros; Mets sign Senga

MLB: Atlanta Braves at San Francisco Giants Sergio Estrada-USA TODAY Sports

New York Post | Jon Heyman: As the battle to sign free agent pitcher Carlos Rodón intensifies, it will likely come down to the Yankees and, again, the Giants. The 2021 NL West champs competed in the Aaron Judge sweepstakes and lost, and also missed out in another New York battle, for outfielder Brandon Nimmo (who returned to the Mets).

According to Heyman, the Yanks are preparing to make an offer to Rodón, who is also courted by the Rangers, Dodgers, Orioles, and Twins. The southpaw was brilliant in 2022, with a 2.88 ERA and 237 strikeouts over 178 innings.

New York Daily News | Kristie Ackert: Retaining Judge was the No. 1 offseason priority for the Bombers. However, doing so doesn’t guarantee that they have a better roster in 2023 than the one they had in 2022. They still need improvements.

Ackert names three items on the Yankees’ to-do list for the remainder of the offseason: find a left fielder, bring in more pitching, and solve the left side of the infield — where they fielded two subpar offensive options in Isiah Kiner-Falefa (shortstop) and Josh Donaldson (third base) most nights.

New York Daily News | Bob Raissman: The Yankees were able to re-sign Judge, and that has positive consequences all over the organization. The first and most obvious product is that the on-field product will remain attractive and competitive.

That brings a series of benefits to the organization, most notably to the YES Network. Having Judge back on a long-term deal guarantees viewership, and viewership guarantees money.

“While Judge leaving wouldn’t have wrecked the Yankees brand and rich history, which YES uses to promote the network, sell to advertisers and TV distributors; it would have ripped a short-term, gaping hole in the product and the organization’s credibility,” notes Raissman. “Now, that nightmare is over, replaced by dreams of JudgeMania.”

Newsday | Erik Boland: After securing Judge’s services for the long haul, a burning question remains without answer: How will the Yanks navigate the rest of the offseason? (Ackert gave her best proposal earlier.) Boland offers an unfortunate dose of reality, reminding us that the roster in place is still not up to snuff with what the Astros have to offer.

“As of now, though it’s a good one that is more than capable of contending for a second straight AL East title as is, the Yankees roster as of now — and it is important to stress the ‘as of now’ element of that — does not match up with the Astros.”

That could change with a solid, creative offseason. The job is still not finished.

As a final note to the news tonight, another free agent has gone off the board to the Mets. Per SNY’s Andy Martino, former NPB pitcher Kodai Senga will be calling Citi Field home:

That takes another starting pitching option off the board, though there hadn’t been many rumors connecting the Yankees to Senga. (Again, Rodón seems to be the primary target.)