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Around the Empire: Yankees news - 1/18/23

Exploring a potential Harrison Bader extension; 2023 Yankees rotation could be their best in 20 years; Chapman talking to five clubs

MLB: Houston Astros at New York Yankees Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY Sports

FanGraphs | Ben Clemens Harrison Bader is entering his final year of arbitration eligibility, which means he will hit the market after the season. That’s unless the Yankees extend him, and the time for that is now.

Clemens points out that Bader “is a perennial Gold Glove contender, and that might be underselling it. Beginning in 2017, his first full season in the majors, Statcast has Bader as the fourth-best center fielder in the game, 46 runs above average”, and compares him to Kevin Kiermaier.

“Conveniently, Bader and Kiermaier have the exact same career wRC+ (97),” he says, before predicting a four-year deal in the range of $50 million. If you ask me, the Yankees should be interested in pursuing an extension. Will they get one done before the season starts? (For a counterpoint, stay tuned to PSA tomorrow.) | Mike Lupica The Yankees have some excellent hitters, but this time, their starting pitching is clearly superior. Lupica points out that the top four of the rotation – Gerrit Cole, Carlos Rodón, Nestor Cortes and Luis Severino – “has the chance to be the strongest front four the Yankees have had in exactly 20 years.” Back then, the Yanks had Andy Pettitte, Mike Mussina, Roger Clemens, and David Wells. Josh discussed this very idea a month ago as well.

GM Brian Cashman explained it best during Rodón’s introductory press conference a while back: “The best starting rotations are the ones when you have a deep talented staff, and every day, yesterday’s starter hands the ball off and the competitive spirit to his teammate and says, ‘Now top that.’ If you can get a collection of talented pitchers that have that type of capability and makeup, that’s when some magical things have a chance to happen.” | Randy Miller Aroldis Chapman is getting himself ready for the 2023 season. He still doesn’t have a team, though, so he is making sure to stay in top shape by training with former WBA super welterweight champion Yordenis Ugas.

He is, according to recent reports, drawing interest. “Chapman would like to be close to home and the Marlins have been calling him,” a source told NJ Advance Media. “They also have been reaching out to people that know him well.”

The Tampa Bay Rays, Kansas City Royals, San Diego Padres and Los Angeles Dodgers also have knocked the door on the pitcher who had a 4.46 ERA in 2022 for the Yankees. I’m sure that most fans are hoping that New York continues to stay far away from the already-frustrating pitcher who ditched him on the eve of the playoffs.