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Around the Empire: Yankees news - 7/20/22

Blake talks about Nestor’s development; the Machado trade that wasn’t; Yankees among those looking into Ian Happ; The story of 2022 draftee Eric Reyzelman; Manfred ludicrously thinks minor leaguers paid a “living wage”

92nd MLB All-Star Game presented by Mastercard Photo by Daniel Shirey/MLB Photos via Getty Images

FanGraphs | David Laurila: When he first came up with the Yankees back in 2019, Nestor Cortes “barely register[ed] a blip on the national radar” — his funky deliveries were fun to watch, but his performance was not. Now, he’s become one of the best pitchers in baseball. Speaking with David Laurila while the team was up in Fenway Park, Matt Blake pulled back the curtain a bit, talking about how plain ol’ Cortes turned into Nasty Nestor, the 2022 All-Star.

I won’t say any more, as Blake says it much better than I possibly could. It is absolutely fantastic off-day reading. | Randy Miller: Back in 2019, the Yankees could have used another bat in the middle of their lineup; they could particularly have used an infielder. At the time, the Baltimore Orioles had an infielder in the name of Manny Machado on the trade market, one that seemed a perfect fit for the left side of the Yankees infield. While he wound up in Los Angeles with the Dodgers, for the longest time, Machado thought that he would be headed to the Yankees. That didn’t happen, nor did they give him a legitimate offer that winter. | Mike Rosenstein: Despite coming into the All-Star break with the league’s best record — or perhaps, because they’re coming into the All-Star break with the league’s best record — the Yankees look to be active on the trade market as they seek to gain an edge in the American League arms race. With a hole in the outfield known as Joey Gallo, they have been inquiring about outfielders, including Cubs outfielder Ian Happ. Other contenders that will likely be in on the 2022 All-Star include a pair of division rivals, the Blue Jays and Rays, as well as the Padres, Mariners, and Mets. | Bryan Hoch: If you’re a frequent reader of Pinstripe Alley, you would know that occurring alongside the All-Star festivities this week has been the MLB Draft. This all means that we have a whole new crop of new Baby Bombers (you can catch up on all of them here) to learn about, such as Eric Reyzelman, the 21-year-old pitcher and son of two Jewish immigrants who had immigrated to the United States from the former Soviet Union.

ESPN | Jeff Passan: Over the course of the lockout, it seemed like every time Rob Manfred opened his mouth, he made things worse (see, for example, him laughing while announcing the cancellation of regular season games). Well, during the All-Star pregame festivities yesterday, the commissioner was asked about the Senate Judiciary Committee’s decision to inquire into the league’s treatment of minor leagues, he did it again. Showing an absolute lack of awareness, Manfred — who makes $17.5 million annually as the league’s commissioner — said, “I reject the premise that they’re not paid a living wage.”

Uh ... what? If that was a true statement, would the league have settled a class-action lawsuit that sees them fork over $185 million to 20,000 players and called on teams to pay minor leaguers during spring training? Would the Judiciary Committee be questioning the league’s antitrust exemption?