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Around the Empire: Yankees news - 6/27/22

Judge continues a storybook season; Yanks talking with Reds about Castillo; Volpe hits walk-off homer to clinch first-half title for Somerset; bullpen nearing reinforcements

Houston Astros v New York Yankees Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images

NY Post | Jon Heyman: Aaron Judge is the odds-on MVP of the first half, and if he keeps finding spots to win the game like he did on Sunday, he’ll surely win the dang thing. Judge delivered his second walk-off in four days, blasting a three-run home run that he apparently didn’t even realize he hit out of the park at first to win it in extra innings and secure a split with the Houston Astros. Judge’s bet on himself proves more and more correct with each day, and there’s only one solution that will satisfy everyone now for the front office — pay the man.

MLB Trade Rumors | Mark Polishuk: The Yankees have been interested in the Reds’ Luis Castillo for quite a while, and its no surprise that the team is still looking at his price tag in the leadup to this year’s trade deadline again. The Yankees shot down a previous package headlined by Gleyber Torres — a move that at first seemed to age horrifically but has revitalized to respectable — but would still likely have to pay handsomely to acquire the right-hander. For what it’s worth, Cincinnati was spotted scouting out Will Warren, a Double-A pitching prospect for New York, which could indicate that the Reds are looking to get a deep look into the team’s system. | Tyler Maun: Boy, has Anthony Volpe heated up as the summer arrived. Volpe’s slow start after being anointed as the team’s No. 1 prospect and a top-10 prospect in all of baseball was a concern for some, but Volpe’s bat has come alive in sync with Somerset’s success of late. His latest feat was a walk-off homer in the 10th inning that secured a first-half division title, his 10th home run of the year. Volpe is just one of two prospects in all of baseball to have 10 homers and 25 stolen bases this year, so the hype is certainly holding up for the young shortstop. Even before play began yesterday, he had a 144 wRC+ in June. | Bob Klapisch: If the Yankees have a weakness, it’s that their bullpen has been stretched thin of late. Reinforcements have been building though, and the first of the bunch is nearly there. Aroldis Chapman made his second rehab appearance with Double-A Somerset on Sunday, and could be back with the team in a matter of days. Jonathan Loáisiga and Domingo Germán are a little further back, but once those three are in the majors again, the Yankees should have the depth to throw out quality pitchers at any point in any game.