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Around the Empire: Yankees news - 1/1/23

Yanks give Calhoun an invite to camp, sign McKinney to minor league deal; “Steve Cohen” tax is the team’s apparent threshold for now; Grisham could be on the radar for left field.

Houston Astros v Texas Rangers Photo by Ben Ludeman/Texas Rangers/Getty Images

MLB Trade Rumors | Mark Polishuk: The Yankees were in the mood to complete some relatively minor deals, first agreeing to a non-roster deal with Willie Calhoun that includes an invite to spring training. Calhoun came onto the scene as a top prospect in the Dodgers system and was a part of the Yu Darvish deal, but he never clicked in Texas. He was traded to the Giants this past year and put up solid Quad-A numbers, showcasing a decent hit tool against the best of the minors but failing in a small sample size in the majors.

CBS: On top of Calhoun, the Yankees also extended a minor-league deal to Billy McKinney, a one-time Yankees prospect who was dealt in the J.A. Happ trade back in 2018. McKinney hasn’t had a lot of time in the majors since, and when he has been up there he’s been downright bad — he most recently hit .096/.158/.173 in 23 games with Oakland in 2022. Perhaps he’ll enjoy a renaissance back in the Yankees organization, perhaps he won’t, perhaps he’ll help bring back a solid midseason acquisition again (okay he probably won’t do that last bit).

NY Post | Jon Heyman: The Yankees have spent some money this offseason, moreso than most people probably expected. For all that effort they’ve really only added Carlos Rodón (not that I’m complaining, it’s been a relatively great offseason for them), but there’s been a number of options that were and still are available. While the team has made it clear that they upped the budget to keep their captain and stay competitive, they appear leery of crossing the Steve Cohen mark of the luxury tax. That lines up with the shift into trade speculations and an emphasis on potentially shedding Josh Donaldson or Aaron Hicks’ contracts, but we’ll see if its actually manageable for them.

Sports Illustrated | Max Goodman: Speaking of those trade rumors, the Padres have been open to discussing a trade for their left fielder, Trent Grisham, recently. The Yankees have been one of the teams connected because at this point any available left fielder is going to stir up rumors, and his contract situation would pair nicely with the Yankees’ goals — but there’s a concern about just how poor his bat was in 2022. We’ll have more in-depth thoughts on this coming soon, but in the meantime you can give Goodman’s overview of the situation a read.