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Around the Empire: Yankees news - 12/16/23

Finding an internal replacement for Michael King; Shōta Imanaga a fallback option for Yanks should they miss on Yamamoto; McKinney dealt for signing pool money, Capellan signed with said money.

Washington Nationals v. New York Yankees Photo by Mary DeCicco/MLB Photos via Getty Images

NY Daily News | Gary Phillips (subscription required): The Yankees took a major depth hit to their MLB-ready pitching pool when they traded for Juan Soto, and opened up a hole in the current roster at the same time. Someone has to step up and take over the role that Michael King had thrived in as the swingman of the bullpen — fortunately for New York, they’re quite good at developing arms for just this purpose. Phillips dives into some of the internal candidates that the team has looking for a chance this spring.

NJ.com | Manuel Gómez: Depth is one thing, but the Yankees’ desire to bolster their rotation overall is well known as well. Yoshinobu Yamamoto remains the prize piece to nab, but backup plans have to be in place if the dice don’t roll in their favor. The Yankees and Mets could both be gearing up for a long winter of bidding against each other, as they also have their eyes set on another Japanese pitcher looking to command a new contract overseas: Shōta Imanaga. The 30-year-old left-hander wasn’t quite as dominant as Yamamoto, but he’s still a highly enticing option for some middle-of-the-rotation strength.

NY Post | Justin Terranova: One of the guys who got more playing time than expected in 2023, Billy McKinney signed up for a third go-around in New York just a week ago, but he’s already departed after the team traded him to the Pirates for some international signing pool money. While it’s strange to have dealt him so quickly after signing him to a minor-league deal, it still worked out in the end for New York, getting some value out of shining a spotlight on him that the Pirates clearly liked rather than letting him go for nothing.

And speaking of that international signing pool money, Curry is reporting that the Yankees have already earmarked that cash for Justin Capellan, a catcher out of the Dominican Republic. That’s some quick dealin’!