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Around the Empire: Yankees news - 7/26/22

First-rounder officially signed; QO system will remain with no international draft; Waldman inducted into Radio Hall of Fame; Sabathia on MLBN broadcast, growing the game; Judge wins Player of the Week

2022 Major League Baseball Draft Photo by Daniel Shirey/MLB Photos via Getty Images | Brendan Kuty: The Yankees made Vanderbilt outfielder Spencer Jones their first pick of the 2022 MLB Draft on Sunday, July 17th, and now, they’ve officially come to terms with the big guy. Jones signed at slot value: $2,880,800. The Yankees have their hopes high for the 25th overall pick, who posted an 1.103 OPS from the left side in 61 games this past season at one of the top college baseball programs in the country. Last year’s collegiate first rounder, Trey Sweeney, reported to Rookie ball for an end-of-July tune-up before beginning full-season ball in Tampa, so if Jones is healthy and ready to go, I suspect that he would follow a similar path.

As an aside, check out PSA’s 2022 draft class tracker if you’re curious about the status of the Yankees’ 19 other picks. That article has been updated quite a few times since it went live during the draft.

MLB Trade Rumors | Steve Adams and Anthony Franco: As part of their negotiations to get the 2022 season started back during the lockout-delayed spring training days, MLB and the MLB Players Association agreed to kick their international draft/qualifying offer discussions down the road to late July. Players had been trying to find a way to eliminate the QO system that hurt some top free agents because teams were often hesitant to lose a future draft pick in exchange for signing anyone who received a qualifying offer.

However, MLB seemingly only wanted to drop it if the union agreed to an international draft, which is a valuable negotiating chip that the league deeply wants. Considering that the QO system was annoying but only affected a handful of players each year, the union wasn’t particularly interested unless its requests for a high total bonus pool for the drafted players was met (among other things).

The two sides set a July 25th deadline to come to an agreement on a draft, and if they did, then the QO system would be eliminated in time for the 2022-23 offseason. However, the union and league are reportedly at least $69 million apart in negotiations over the pool, and MLB wanted hard draft slots as well. So with the MLBPA rejecting MLB’s last offer yesterday, that would appear to lock in the status quo with the QO system and no international draft. That’s good news for the Yankees anyway, who already have an agreement in place with with the top name in the next international signing period, Brandon Mayea.

WFAN | Lou DiPietro: That last news item was a little dense, so how about something easier and more pleasant? Yankees radio announcer Suzyn Waldman has been covering the team in various capacities between WFAN, WCBS, and MSG since 1987, and now in her 18th season behind the mic with John Sterling, the trailblazer is being honored by the Museum of Broadcast Communications. She will be a part of their 2022 Radio Hall of Fame class and honored on November 1st in Chicago.

Congratulations to Suzyn! But also, let’s hope that she ends up having to figure out a World Series scheduling conflict.

Uproxx | Jason Tabrys: From one notable baseball voice to another, CC Sabathia has been a key part of MLB Network’s attempt to experiment with traditional game broadcasts. The majority of MLBN’s coverage sticks with this classic one that we often see on the likes of YES Network, but Sabathia has now been a part of numerous MLBN “Clubhouse Edition” broadcasts that attempt to tweak the format. Rather than providing play-by-play, the future Hall of Famer joins announcer Stephen Nelson and fellow former players Cliff Floyd and Mike Lowell to simply watch the game together, telling stories and chatting with guests.

Honestly, it’s pretty fun! I’ve watched a couple of these before and tuned into the Phillies/Braves one last night. It’s a terrific vibe to just listen to these guys hanging out. Back in the article though, Sabathia talks about growing the game writ large, reaching a wider audience, and helping baseball’s biggest stars attempt to reach Derek Jeter’s Everest-like level of fame.

Lastly, congratulations go out to AL MVP favorite Aaron Judge, who followed up Matt Carpenter’s AL Player of the Week performance with one of his own. It’s his fifth career AL Player of the Week honor and first since 2021 (week of May 15th), though he did win AL Player of the Month this past May.