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Around the Empire: Yankees news - 9/21/22

Judge and the greatest season ever?; Maris’ sons watching Aaron chase Roger; Montas hits the IL; Salazar released

Pittsburgh Pirates v New York Yankees Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images | Mike Petriello: Aaron Judge launched his 60th homer of 2022 last night, and at this point, most Yankees fans probably know that Judge is chasing the team’s single-season home run record, not to mention a Triple Crown as well. It’s remarkable, but it’s somehow possible that it’s being a little underrated as well. At, Petriello made the case for Judge having the best season at bat in the long history of Major League Baseball.

It’s already an elite offensive year, but Judge is doing so during a campaign in which offense is way down and he’s blowing away the rest of the field. Most of the comparables either took place before integration, in only partial integration, or shortened seasons. The rest were done by 1998 Mark McGwire and early-2000s Barry Bonds, so make your own judgments there. | Mike Rosenstein: Speaking of ‘98 McGwire, Roger Maris Jr. and Kevin Maris (Roger’s sons) were in attendance at Yankee Stadium for Judge’s 60th bomb. They will continue to watch over as No. 99 attempts to surpass their father’s American League record of 61 homers, and other family members will arrive tonight.

MLB Trade Rumors | Darragh McDonald: The Yankees got one trade deadline addition back from the injured list last night in outfielder Harrison Bader, but in a deal that would please the denizens of Vormir (okay, denizen), they had to lose one as well. Rather than swapping out one of their bench outfielders, they sent pitcher Frankie Montas to the IL with right shoulder inflammation. The struggling starter is suffering from what plagued him in July with the A’s, and as he did then, he recently took another cortisone shot. Domingo Germán will reclaim a rotation spot in the interim.

Montas will be shut down from throwing for 10 days, but both he and the Yankees think that he’ll be able to make another start before the regular season ends. Should he, though? And should he even be considered for the playoff rotation? Those are other questions entirely.

Associated Press | Ronald Blum: In news that will probably bring a tear to Hal Steinbrenner’s eye, the Yankees will likely face a $9.4 million luxury tax hit this year with their tax payroll at $267 million. It pales in comparison to the MLB-leading $29.9 million that Steve Cohen’s now-spending Mets will pay on their $273.9 million payroll, and each of the Dodgers, Phillies, Red Sox, and Padres will be charged taxes as well. But look, all these billionaires can easily afford it. I have no sympathy.

Lastly, the Yankees released former Cleveland All-Star Danny Salazar from his minor league contract. They signed him back in May to see if he could rehab to make his first MLB appearance since 2019 (and second since 2017), but while he made it into two games with Triple-A Scranton, this comeback story didn’t have a happy ending. So it goes.

Note: The Estevan Florial option was already reported on Sunday, when Anthony Rizzo was activated from the IL.