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Around the Empire: Yankees news - 1/15/23

Nestor Cortes expresses his appreciation after reaching a deal for 2023; it looks increasingly likely Aaron Hicks will be starting left fielder; the Yankees don’t look like they’ll be the club to acquire Bryan Reynolds.

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New York Yankees starting pitcher Nestor Cortes in Game 4 of the 2022 ALCS Photo by J. Conrad Williams Jr./Newsday RM via Getty Images | Kevin Manahan: One of the Yankees’ best recent stories keeps getting better. In the aftermath of coming to an agreement on a $2.3 million salary for 2023, Nestor Cortes made it clear how much he appreciates what his parents did to enable him to reach this point. Cortes noted the sacrifices his parents made, and promised to continue his work moving forward.

The Athletic | Chris Kirschner: Kirschner explains why Aaron Hicks is the most likely candidate to win the Opening Day left field job, with the Yankees valuing Oswaldo Cabrera’s positional versatility. Meanwhile, the club says Estevan Florial has a chance to seize the job, but Kirschner notes that he is an unlikely candidate.

Sports Illustrated | Max Goodman: Despite the smoke surrounding Bryan Reynolds, it appears increasingly unlikely that the Yankees will be the destination for the Pirates’ left fielder. Pittsburgh is rumored to be asking for pitching prospects, not an ideal match for the Yankees. And the Pirates are aiming for a monster return, meaning New York would have to surrender more than one of the club’s blue-chip prospects.