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Around the Empire: Yankees news - 11/21/23

Yoshinobu Yamamoto posted by Orix Buffaloes; Bombers pursuing both Soto and Bellinger; Four best moves Yankees can make this winter; Yankees complete first signing of winter; 2024 Hall of Fame candidates announced; Zack Britton retires from MLB

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World Baseball Classic Semifinals: Mexico v Japan Photo by Eric Espada/Getty Images

SNY | Andy Martino: Yoshinobu Yamamoto was officially posted by NPB’s Orix Buffaloes on Monday, opening a 45-day window in which he may sign with an MLB club. Martino reports that the two-time MVP and three-time Sawamura award winner (NPB’s Cy Young) and three-time Triple Crown winner plans to begin meeting with suitors in early December, though isn’t expected to be present at Winter Meetings from December 3rd to December 6th. Interestingly, Martino also notes that Yamamoto would prefer to play for a big-market club and in particular is “intrigued by the idea of playing for the Yankees.”

USA Today | Bob Nightengale: In his weekly notebook, Nightengale covers a list of baseball news items from the last week, and several references to the Yankees pop up. In his tribute to the late owner of the Padres Peter Seidler, Nightengale reveals that the Padres made a ten-year, $400 million offer to Aaron Judge before he signed with the Yankees. Nightengale also notes that the Yankees would “love” to add both Juan Soto and Cody Bellinger, but wanting to do something and having the fortitude to carry it through are two completely different things.

CBS Sports | Mike Axisa: Interestingly, Axisa also floats the idea of the Yankees adding both Soto and Bellinger this offseason in his four-item checklist of tasks for the Bombers this winter. In addition to those two moves, Axisa urges the team to sign Yamamoto and improve their depth after giving 100 plate appearances to Jake Bauers, Willie Calhoun, Isiah Kiner-Falefa, Billy McKinney and Franchy Cordero in 2023. While we can certainly all get behind Axisa’s prescriptions for the team, adding Yamamoto, Soto and Bellinger alone would push the Yankees’ payroll well north of $300 million, something Hal Steinbrenner has voiced a reluctance to do.

MLB Trade Rumors | Anthony Franco: The Yankees have completed their first signing of the offseason, as representatives for reliever Yerry De Los Santos announced the team and their client have a deal in place. The terms of the contract are unknown, with Franco speculating it to be a minor league pact. The 25-year-old reliever became a free agent after the Pirates placed him on waivers and has a career 4.14 ERA. He throws a sinker in the mid-90s that has generated a career groundball rate over 53 percent but struggled with walks in 2023 — all of which elicits images of Clay Holmes and his move from Pittsburgh to New York.

FanGraphs | Jay Jaffe: The BBWAA released a 26-man slate of candidates for election to the Hall of Fame in 2024 and eight former Yankees appear on the list. Bobby Abreu, Carlos Beltrán, Bartolo Colon, Matt Holliday, Andruw Jones, Andy Pettitte, Alex Rodriguez, and Gary Sheffield are up for consideration, and Jaffe takes a preliminary look at the biggest questions surrounding each candidate’s case to be elected or left out. It was interesting to note that Jaffe identified CC Sabathia as the most likely pitcher to next enter Cooperstown, with the southpaw becoming eligible for the 2025 ballot.

NJ Advance Media | Jimmy Hascup: Zack Britton called it quits on a 12-year big league career, amassing 154 saves with a 3.13 ERA in 442 appearances for the Orioles and Yankees. The two-time All-Star also offered some advice on how the Yankees can return to being one of the league’s powerhouses. He reminisced how the intimidation factor that came with playing the Yankees made it the pinnacle landing spot for almost every player, whereas in recent years he has spoken with players who say the Yankees no longer possess that imposing aura nor allure as a destination. His recommendation:

“For me, with the Yankees’ budget, they should get the best players. They have, to some extent, but really building powerhouses to make it a place people want to play.”

Here’s wishing Britton the best of luck in retirement!