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Around the Empire: Yankees news - 12/20/23

Yamamoto desires the brightest lights; FanGraphs’ top Yankee prospects; Bernie joining YES?; Yanks’ offseason is a big bet on bringing in Yamamoto; some trends around the 2023 style of play; Joan Ford passes away

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2023 World Baseball Classic: Semifinal Team Mexico v. Team Japan Photo by Daniel Shirey/WBCI/MLB Photos via Getty Images

Jon Morosi via Twitter and MLB Network: The rumor mill continues to swirl around the Yankees as the top suitor for Yoshinobu Yamamoto. He has a “preference to pitch on the biggest stage” and who better fits that the Yankees? In addition, despite his Orix Buffaloes’ success in the NPB, they aren’t one of the marquee franchises, historically speaking. Yamamoto has the agency to change that by coming to the Bronx and pitching for the most historically significant team in the sport. Per Bob Klapisch though, we might not get a resolution on Yamamoto until after the holidays.

FanGraphs | Eric Longenhagen: It’s FanGraphs prospect list season and this one comes with a few surprises. As we heard all year, the Yankees may have the best group of teenage prospects in the entire sports, and that played out clearly in Longenhagen’s rankings. Seven of their top 16 prospects have yet to turn 20, and another handful did in the last few months. Despite The Martian’s big splash at the end of the year, he is ranked behind the other debut boy, Austin Wells, and the extremely tall Spencer Jones.

Jones is currently the only prospect ranked with a 55 future value, meaning his projection is of an above average everyday player. Jones’ projection is built around his incredibly high ceiling, which we all know plenty about. The last key piece to note is on Will Warren, who might have the best shot of significant major league innings in 2024.

New York Post | Andrew Marchand: Bernie Williams has made appearances on the YES Network broadcast a few times in recent years. This time, we can get used to him sticking around. According to Andrew Marchand, YES and No. 51 are in discussion to bring Bernie to the broadcast in 2024. As a fan favorite, there is no question that Williams’ entry to the broadcast will be widely loved and supported.

The Athletic ($) | Chris Kirschner: With the Yankees seemingly putting all their attention into free agent Yoshinobu Yamamoto, it’s become increasingly clear that they see top end starting pitching as a clear need. As Kirschner states, their current rotation is heavily reliant on the bounce backs of Carlos Rodón and Nestor Cortes, both of whom were either injured or ineffective for the majority of 2023. Behind Gerrit Cole, there is uncertainty. Adding Yamamoto puts all those questions to bed.*

*This article is behind the paywall, but Mike Petriello at made this point as well.

Baseball Prospectus ($) | Rob Mains: This is a great overview of some trends summarizing the style of play in 2023, and how that compares to previous seasons. Of note, the strikeout rate continued to increase once again despite some rules trying to promote the opposite. Specific to the Yankees, they were one of only five teams attempt fewer stolen bases in 2023 than they did in 2022. That is interesting, considering the addition of Anthony Volpe on the everyday roster. I’m not too sure this will hold in 2024.

In case you missed it, the Yankees added infielder Jeter Downs on a waiver claim in a minor bit of transaction news. Insert your own Derek Jeter joke here.

We must close the news on a sad note, though. The Yogi Berra Museum announced the passing of the late Whitey Ford’s widow, Joan.

Joan and Whitey were married from 1951 until the Hall of Fame lefty died in October 2020. She attended the past couple Old-Timers’ Day as an honored guest. We send our best out to their friends and family.