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Around the Empire: Yankees news - 6/15/22

Judge’s 2022 contract still needs to be settled; Trevino provides a little help; a different role may be in the cards for Carpenter; teammates believe Gallo will improve; Red Sox wanted Carpenter, too

MLB: Chicago Cubs at New York Yankees Gregory Fisher-USA TODAY Sports

NJ.com | Mike Rosenstein: In case you forgot, Aaron Judge is still technically playing this season without a contract. The slugger’s messy contract situation, as well as his scorching-hot start to the season, have been well-covered in all corners of Yankees universe, but the lead-up to his arbitration hearing could prove to fuel even more speculation than we’ve already seen. Since Judge is having an MVP-caliber season, coming to terms on a long-term deal at this stage likely won’t happen.

Given this assumption, according to Ken Rosenthal, the best-case scenario for Judge and the Yankees is if the two sides come to a pre-arbitration settlement on a contract for 2022 and agree to continue working on a long-term contract. If you need a reminder, the last we heard, Judge was seeking $21 million while the Yankees filed at $17 million. Let’s see what he ends up making.

SI.com | Max Goodman: It’s no secret that Kyle Higashioka’s performance at the plate has been the stuff of nightmares to this point. On Sunday afternoon’s rout of the Chicago Cubs, though, Higashioka finally got in the home run column, hitting the first two home runs of his 2022 campaign, one of which made the history books as it was the slowest pitch hit for a home run in the Statcast era. Well, after the game, we found out that Yankees fan favourite Jose Trevino might’ve had a bit of a hand in Higashioka finally getting off the schneid. Trevino noticed something in Higashioka’s swings from an earlier at-bat, told him what he noticed between innings, and Higashioka did the rest. As if we couldn’t like Jose Trevino more, now it’s confirmed that he’s also a great teammate.

NJ.com | Brendan Kuty: Matt Carpenter and his magnificent moustache (in addition to one of the funniest spray charts you will ever see) have won over Yankees fans since he surprisingly joined the team in late May. Performances like the one he posted against the Cubs on Sunday afternoon have led some fans to wonder what his role will be like on the team going forward. Well, according to manager Aaron Boone, should Carpenter’s hot play continue at the plate, he hasn’t ruled out the possibility of running him out in the outfield.

This wouldn’t be a regular occurrence — after all, Carpenter has logged just 117 total innings in the outfield in over a decade of playing time — but we could see him deployed in that way to give some of the bigger bats a chance to get off their feet while ensuring his bat stays in the lineup.

NJ.com | Brendan Kuty: Back-to-back Kuty content! Joey Gallo has been one of the few rough spots in the Yankees roster this season, as his production at the plate has seen a more-than-noticeable dip since he arrived in New York. His former Ranger-turned-Yankee teammates, Isiah Kiner-Falefa and Jose Trevino, aren’t ready to give up on Gallo quite yet, though. The pair insist that it’s only a matter of time before he turns it around at the plate, and that counting him out at this point might be a fool’s errand. Fingers crossed that Trevino and Kiner-Falefa are on to something here.

SI.com | Max Goodman: Even more Max Goodman content, and even more Matt Carpenter content to kickstart your Wednesday morning! As noted earlier, Carpenter’s addition to this Yankees club came as a bit of a surprise at the time, but he’s wasted no time in endearing himself to Yankees fans and proving that his revamped swing can play at the major league level. As if his production wasn’t good enough for us Yankee faithful already, it turns out that New York beat none other than the Boston Red Sox to the punch when it came to signing Carpenter. The Atlanta Braves apparently also reached out to Carpenter, but beating the Red Sox at anything will always be of utmost important to Yankees fans.