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Around the Empire: Yankees news - 12/9/22

Yankees have Rodón atop their latest free agent wishes; MLB used various baseballs in 2022 including one that featured more in Yankees games; still several spots for the Yanks to add; Bader appears at holiday food drive

Los Angeles Dodgers v San Francisco Giants Photo by Lachlan Cunningham/Getty Images

NY Post | Jon Heyman: The Yankees checked off their biggest goal of the offseason when they re-signed Aaron Judge, but there’s still a lot of work to do to satisfy his (and the fans’) request to improve the team. The biggest move available, and one that they’re apparently very eager to pursue, would be signing free agent pitcher Carlos Rodón to form a deadly pitching rotation. It’s far from a done deal, but given the way that the offseason has played out the Yankees are becoming viewed as potential favorites to win him over, and it certainly helps when closely-connected sources like Jack Curry have been openly tweeting about the Yankees’ interest.

Insider | Bradford William Davis: Amid all of the chaos of the Judge chase, this report came out recently detailing how MLB has once again used different baseballs throughout the season after declaring at the start of the year that they would have one standardized ball. Davis, working with astrophysicist Meredith Wills, uncovered data that reviewed over 200 samples from the 2022 campaign and showcased three unique balls — a “dead” ball, a “juiced” ball a la the 2019 season, and a middle-ground ball they dubbed Goldilocks balls.

Their data also showed that the Goldilocks ball usually made special appearances, namely during the postseason, the All-Star Game, and regular season bouts that had special commemorative stamps on the ball. There was one exception — they appeared in a number of Yankees games as well, mostly during the stretch run in September as well as a sizeable portion in August. Parse through the report for yourselves: it’s sure to be a conversation for when the regular season gets close, and be brought up thereafter. Given that the league has conclusively been doing something behind the scenes again, an extensive investigation through the 2023 season would be an ideal follow-up.*

*Given MLB’s flippant response to the report, don’t bank on accountability on their end though.

Sports Illustrated | Max Goodman: We talked about Rodón earlier, but there’s a number of directions that the Yankees need to have their nose in as well. Notably, the left field pool of players is starting to tighten after the Red Sox signed Masataka Yoshida and the Mets re-signed Brandon Nimmo. Will the Yankees be able to retain Andrew Benintendi’s services, or will they have to pivot to a second option if his market starts to pick up? | David Adler: The Yankees recently held an annual food drive to benefit local communities, and local star Harrison Bader was on hand to help out at the event. Over 3,000 pounds of food ended up being donated towards the cause, and the Yankees were able to throw in some bonuses to incentivize people to lend a helping hand.